Alan Koren, a Mercy Health athletic trainer
Sports / Orthopedic

The Essential Role of Athletic Trainers

Mar 10 2021

In the midst of a global pandemic, sports have been a welcomed escape for many. Whether watching your favorite team on TV or heading to the backyard to play a game with your family, most would agree that the camaraderie found in sports has been a bright light throughout the past year.

For many high school athletes, their recent sports seasons have looked a little different. Some seasons may have been delayed or even canceled. Practices have been shorter, with less contact, more sanitation and constant face mask-wearing.

But one thing has remained the same, athletic trainers are still there. They are still available to take care of athlete’s needs, both on and off the field. The role of an athletic trainer spans more than simply sports medicine.

“We do so much,” shares Alan Koren, a certified Mercy Health athletic trainer in Youngstown, OH (pictured above). “We’re kind of like this wonderful toolbox with a variety of useful tools. We mold and fit into whatever the situations we’re faced with call for.”

Alan is right. Athletic trainers are more than simply trainers. They are first responders at games and practices, they are a liaison between athletes and surgeons when more serious intervention is needed, they are often a friend and a listening ear to young athletes as they learn, grow and overcome challenges.

Athletic trainers are essential, and especially right now during COVID-19. Daily temperature checks, sanitation procedures and virus protocols are all part of the role now. But trainers do everything with a smile, knowing they are serving the athletes in our communities.

A spirit of service is ingrained in most athletic trainers, especially Alan. As an active member of the Ohio National Guard, Alan serves our country. Luckily for the student athletes at Cardinal Mooney High School, he serves them too.

“When a kid has an acute injury, they have a million things running through their head. One of my favorite parts about being an athletic trainer is that I get to calm them down,” says Alan. “I get to reassure them and work with them to get them back on the field or court. I’m there through their roller coaster of emotions and get to help them overcome challenges.”

As we celebrate National Athletic Training Month, we want to thank all our Mercy Health athletic trainers. You are more than sports medicine professionals; you are essential to health care.

Learn more about the sports medicine services we provide at Mercy Health.

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