Trainers help keep Bulldogs afloat

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In the movie "The Waterboy," Adam Sandler stars as Bobby Boucher, who goes from team water boy to team hero.

None of the Moffat County High School trainers have hopped on the field to reach hero status, but athletes do rely on them for their services, such as fresh water, every day.

"Emily or Michelle tape my ankle every day," junior basketball player Derek Duran said about trainers Emily Weber and Michelle Hardin. So in a way, Duran depends on the trainers like the South Central Louisiana University Mud Dogs depended on Boucher.

Filming the games, taking statistics and keeping the water cooler full of "high quality H20," as Boucher would say, are the most visible duties for the trainers. But there is more to the title "trainer," than what one would get out of watching "The Waterboy."

To be certified as a trainer, a student must go through three, eight- hours sessions with the high school's certified athletic trainer, Jeff Pleasant. Trainers also must be CPR certified, and for two summers the trainers have attended a summer camp.

"(The trainers) are taken for granted," Pleasant said. "They go on the road when I can't be there and they are valuable to every program they assist."

Some of the lesser-known duties that trainers are responsible for include keeping track of and documenting injuries, reminding the athletes when they have checkups, monitoring the athletes' progress and informing coaches what the athletes can and can't do.

"The athletes know to come to us if something is wrong," junior baseball and wrestling trainer Amber Breslin said. "We have our limits, but they recognize we know some things."

There are five trainers at MCHS: seniors Weber and Stephanee Hafey; juniors Breslin and Hardin; and sophomore Ashley Fredrickson.

Weber, Fredrickson and Breslin are wrestling trainers. Two have brothers on the team, and one has a cousin.

"Part of why I became interested was because my cousins wrestled," Weber said. "But it's also a lifetime opportunity, because it teaches you things you can use later."

Weber plans to be a nurse and hopes her time as a trainer will supplement her post-secondary education.

The medical knowledge will be helpful for Weber, and so will the scholarship that she is eligible to receive as a trainer.

Every spring, Pleasant organizes the local medical community to give physicals to school district athletes. Most of the $15 fee goes into college scholarships for the trainers who hope to enter the health field.

More than 30 scholarships have been awarded during the 10 years of the program, Pleasant said.

Several MCHS alumni have used the scholarships for prestigious careers.

Betsy Nadler was a scholarship recipient, and she is now an athletic trainer for the U.S. Olympic team in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Wendy Weisner received money to attend the University of Colorado. She graduated as a certified athletic trainer and now works as a physician's assistant, specializing in orthopedic medicine.

When high school students become interested in helping a team they are called managers if they don't have any training. Regardless of status -- trainer or manager -- everybody has their own reasons for spending hours upon hours sitting at practice or on a bus.

"I wanted to travel and see different towns," said freshman Lindsey Stehle-Doehling. "I'm also a big sports fan."

Hardin is the only trainer on the boys basketball team staff, and she oversees three managers.

"We all help out with each others' duties," she said. "I don't film the games, though, because I'm too far away if someone is injured."

Along with Stehle-Doehling, freshmen Dani Gillikin and Jessie Forquer are boys basketball managers.

"It gives me something to do after school," Forquer said. "I wanted to play basketball, but I have bad knees."

All of the freshmen said they plan to be trainers. Stehle-Doehling already has started her training.

Pleasant's program is ahead of its time in Colorado. Forty states require that each high school have an official trainer, but Colorado isn't one of them. Pleasant said that there is legislation in the works to make a trainer mandatory.

"On the Western Slope, the only schools to have trainers are Steamboat, Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and the Junction schools," he said. "So right now it's a unique opportunity."

A unique opportunity that the girls enjoy; at least they enjoy it most of the time.

"You learn who not to talk to after a loss," Forquer said. "The toughest bus trips home are during a loss because we can't talk."

Nothing in their training requires them to be quiet for three hours on the bus.

"We make them mad sometimes," Gillikin said. "But it's all good."

Or as Bobby Boucher would say, "It's g-g-g-good."

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