Student trainers aid teams’ success

Senior athletic trainers, Bret Mattesson, Michael Carrillo and John Mamea help themselves to the food offered at the Senior Athletic Training Barbeque on Wednesday. The event allowed this group of trainers a chance to socialize and play games. / photo by Chris Heinrich
Senior athletic trainers, Bret Mattesson, Michael Carrillo and John Mamea help themselves to the food offered at the Senior Athletic Training Barbeque on Wednesday. The event allowed this group of trainers a chance to socialize and play games. / photo by Chris Heinrich

by Andreas Hahn
Staff Writer

A relatively successful season for the athletic teams of the University of La Verne is over. Now is the time, to take a look behind the scenes.

Largely involved in the outcome of the seasons are not only the athletes and the head coaches, but also the student athletic trainers at ULV, who help whenever an athlete needs physical help.

They travel with the teams to the various competitions around the states; especially in case of the men’s volleyball team even to Iowa.

This year, 13 of the approximately 40 enrolled athletic trainers will graduate from ULV or are currently holding the senior status.

Sean Douglas and Jeremy Gonzales had active team assignments for the football team this season; Veronica Mendez, men’s soccer; John Mamea, baseball; Jamey Corley, women’s soccer; Anna Arguigo, women’s water polo; Michelle Geiger, men’s water polo; Jennifer Spring, softball, and was assisted by Jared Wells; Mari Ohsawa, women’s volleyball; Katie Holmes, football and men’s volleyball; Arman Mercado, men’s basketball; Kevin Walker, a senior, had no team assignment this season.

Marilyn Oliver, professor of physical education and head athletic trainer, described athletic training as “a subdiscipline of sport medicine.” It serves prevention, assessment and rehabilitation of injuries of the physically active population.

Students enrolled in athletic training can apply to train a particular team of their choice, but the final decision about the assignments is up to Oliver.

“I have two assistant athletic trainers who give me input,” said Oliver.

Time availability, an essay the student athletic trainers have to write and the grade point average influence the decision of who works with what team.

“We also check with the head coach of the team they are going to work with,” said Oliver.

Not everyone is able to work with the preferred team in the end. “I guess, some people do not like their assignment,” said Oliver.

Women’s volleyball and football were among the preferred team assignment in this season’s applications.

The student athletic trainers are either fulfilling their academic class requirements, are on a work study basis or totally volunteer. All hours of athletic training can be accumulated for a post-graduation national certification by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), said Oliver.

In order to be certified, students have to serve 1,500 hours of athletic training, which takes an average of three years.

Gonzales, a senior athletic trainer and sports science major, applied to train the football team and got the assignment.

After the football season was over, Gonzales helped out with the women’s basketball team.

“This was my first year in a team assignment, the years before, I helped out,” said Gonzales.

“It’s a great program, but it is hard to get into it,” said Gonzales about the athletic training curriculum.

According to Gonzales, an athletic trainer has to be very patient and calm. “You cannot assume that anybody who falls needs immediate assistance,” said Gonzales. “Sometimes nothing is happening the whole day.”

The greatest challenge for Gonzales during the season was the assignment on the football team itself.

“We started with 80 to 90 athletes,” said he and there were only two athletic trainers assigned to the football team.

An unexpected situation occurred when Gonzales traveled to Texas with the football team. Whenever the other team scored a touchdown, Gonzales had to keep the fans from running on the field, changing his role from an athletic trainer to one of a security officer.

“In the future, I would love to be on the professional level,” said Gonzales, who is currently a student athletic trainer at Bonita High School. He would like to come back to a local university to be athletic trainer and Gonzales has also ambitions to teach classes.

To train the men’s basketball team was also Mercado’s first choice. He was the head student trainer after he assisted in 1997 and 1998.

“You got to love it, what you do,” said Mercado about being an athletic trainer. “I love basketball, I know what the athletes need.”

“I did not expect that all the athletes would appreciate me,” said Mercado about his time with the team. “I thought some wouldn’t care, but they were all really nice to me.”

Asked about his future perspective, Mercado said that he is currently applying for a teaching position in a secondary school where he also would like to coach the basketball or volleyball team.

Gonzales and Mercado are only two examples of people, who act in the background of ULV’s athletic teams, but whose work is essential for the success in competitions.

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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