Beyond the Treatment Room: Southeast’s Athletic Trainers find joy in programs success
Behind every “broken” collegiate athlete is an athletic trainer that puts heart and sole to treating others and getting them back to the sport they love to play. They are there every step of the way; in the treatment rooms, at practices, and cheering on the sidelines. For both of Southeast’s head athletic trainers, that level of dedication comes from a lifelong influence by sports.
The program has evolved since Fox and Martin arrived. When Martin first started at Southeast in 2011, there were only three full-time trainers and four general assistants on staff. Martin said it was difficult trying to figure out how to cover every sport. Fox said the technology has been upgraded by leeway budgeting possible through administration and the program stays up to date with “the trends of athletic training.”
“It’s changed to where now we have a full time staff of six and four general assistants,” Martin said. “We are expanding that into all full time.”
With a full athletic training staff, athletes across all programs are made to feel important, Martin said.
“Now every sport feels like they are just as important because they have someone there all the time,” Martin said. “It’s not just what you consider your main sports — it’s every sport, and now every athlete feels just as important as the other.”
For Fox, the most rewarding part of the job is helping athletes get back to doing what they love as quickly as possible.
“For me, personally, it is taking an athlete who’s had an injury, telling them, ‘It’s OK,’ get them taken care of and do whatever we got to do to get them back on the field and see them compete and do what they love to do,” Fox said.
Martin believes rehabilitating injured athletes as quickly as possible is a major aspect of the job, but the most rewarding for her is the relationships she has built.
“I think we build relationships with people, and later down the road, when something happens to them or their kid, you’re still the first person they call because they respect what you say,” Martin said. “So I think knowing that you made an impact on someone’s life and [helping] them is rewarding.”
Finding the time to control one’s health is a key aspect in helping keep the Southeast athletes healthy, as well, Martin said. She’s got an ankle injury and said it has been difficult to take care of herself while also taking care of the athletes.
“Finding time to actually take care of yourself is always hard, because I feel like we do put the needs of all of our athletes and practices and everything above ourselves,” Martin said. “We give up our free time and holidays, and I don’t think people always realize that.”
The training staff at Southeast is part of the athletics program, which means they get to share in the achievements of the athletes they treat. Fox and Martin’s favorite memories at Southeast have to do with the success of the program.
Football’s Ohio Valley Conference championship win was Fox’s favorite memory at Southeast.
“Knowing what the program was when Coach Tuke got here and seeing him build that culture to change it to what it is now, where we have a winning program and people respect that,” Fox said of football head coach Tom Matukewicz. “Just being on that sideline knowing you just won was amazing.”
For Martin, one moment did not stick out, but it was this past year’s success as a whole.
“[The year started] with softball winning the championship and carrying it over to football, volleyball and soccer,” Martin said. “Seeing everyone build on top of each other, and the university and city getting excited about sports, men’s and women’s.”
Fox and Martin work with football, and Martin also works with men’s basketball. Rosengarden, the main training room on campus is located near LaFerla Hall, next to the Southeast football team’s practice field.