They are always there, on the sidelines, ready to act if needed. During National Athletic Training Month, we are proud to spotlight our athletic trainers who work hard to keep student athletes in our communities on the field.
“I think one of the most rewarding things about being an athletic trainer is seeing athletes succeed, especially after they come off an injury,” shares Gage Beaber, an athletic trainer for Oregon City Schools’ Clay High School in the Toledo, OH area. “The best feeling is seeing these kids that work so hard to get back into their sport… and then succeed in big ways.”
As we all try to delve into a “new normal” during COVID-19, athletic trainers are essential now more than ever in keeping student athletes healthy and safe. Also, as sports become more competitive, it is important for athletic trainers to be there to diagnose, treat and prevent sports related injuries.
Building a bond with student athletes has allowed Gage and our other trainers to help in even more meaningful ways.
“A lot of times, athletes have a different bond with their ATs as compared to others such as coaches, which allows us to be there for not only their physical health but also their mental wellbeing,” Gage says. “We are trained to handle a number of different situations, in numerous amounts of settings, and I think more and more that expertise is being tapped into. I’m excited to do even more as our roles continue to grow.”
Like all Mercy Health’s athletic trainers, Gage’s days are often hectic as he guides athletes through the rehabilitation process, students with both new and existing injuries. For more serious injuries, Gage works with sports medicine physicians to help build out a return to play plan.
A former athlete himself, Gage says he chose a career in athletic training because he wanted to enter the health care world without leaving the world of sports behind. When he learned about the role of an athletic trainer, he found his calling.
“I think the most rewarding thing about being an AT really doesn’t come down to a single moment, but instead to the many times when I see an athlete feel comfortable enough to talk about their mental wellbeing. I can tell when they are sharing how they are actually doing, and not just what they think I want to hear,” Gage says. “It takes a lot of confidence and trust to get to that point with most high school kids, so it is extremely rewarding to see when that switch is flipped.”
Learn more about the sports medicine services we provide at Mercy Health.