EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – A scorching hot week was capped off with football on Friday night. Behind the scenes, it was the athletic trainers who made it all possible.
The trainers were involved in all the decisions on how to prepare for the week and the decision to delay start times. Central trainer, Austin Schapker, said they put in the work every week to make sure the players are safe.
“Usually we are the first ones at practice and the last ones to leave. Anytime the players need anything, they know that we are reliable and they can always come to us,” said Schapker.
That dependability earns them a bond with the players according to Central head coach, Brandon Artis.
“The players don’t see us until they see Austin. So I think he has a better relationship with the players than I do,” said Artis.
Those bonds are crucial to a team as well. While injuries may be physical, they also come with a mental impact. Castle’s trainer, Del Nance, said they also have to help the players mentally recover.
“We don’t want the kids to disconnect from the team. We want to keep them involved. Sometimes it’s just making light of a situation a little bit,” said Nance
“Also let them see the progress. If they see things get better, it’s a lot easier to get them bought into the program,” Nance added.
One of Nance’s patients is linebacker, Trey Ward who recovered from a torn MCL. Ward said that he still keeps up with Nance, just healthy this time.
“He makes it better than it should be. I still say ‘hi’ to him everyday. We still have that connection,” said Ward.
The trainers are involved everyday with decisions on players being able to participate. They are in constant conversation with the coaches to make sure that players are staying safe.
Of course, the trainers root for their teams as well.
“Once you get to your school, the big thing is keeping the kids safe. You want to see they be successful,” said Schapker.
Getting the kids on the field leads to their success and it wouldn’t be possible without the athletic trainers.