Injuries, sarcasm and a pocket-sized sewing kit.
A combination of the three is a typical day in Palomar’s athletic training room.
An athletic trainer on campus multi-tasks by treating an injury of a student athlete while sewing the uniform of another athlete before a big game.
Flecicia Heise does both of these things while uttering sarcastic comments to create a laid-back environment.
Heise and Dennis Greenhill, Palomar’s athletic trainers, work with 22 teams and provide service to 425 athletes throughout the year, according to Palomar’s website.
Heise has been working at Palomar for nearly 22 years. She said that she enjoys interacting with the athletes because each of them have a unique story.
The training staff helps facilitate the school’s athletes back to health through a myriad of injuries such as Comets softball first baseman Katy McJunkin who’s been dealing with an ailment in her left foot since rolling it when rounding second base in a game earlier this season.
Heise advised Mcjunkan to place her sprained foot on a round wobble board as an exercise to stabilize her ankle for recovery.
Gabby Hutzler, a Comets beach volleyball player came into the trainer’s room to get a diagnosis for her shoulder pain. Heise told her that it could be a possible tear because of the tingling in her nerves.
“She’s awesome! She’s so good at keeping you calm and she’s educated,” Hutzler said.
Greenhill said that his favorite part of being a trainer is, “the moment an injured athlete returns to unrestricted play and full participation for the first game back.”
Greenhill has been a trainer at Palomar for 10 years. He explained how discovering his career path was by accident.
A buddy of Greenhill’s called him and gave him a random code to register for a class at Palomar. When Greenhill asked what class he just registered for, he was told that it was a class about sports injuries. The instructor for that class was Heise and the relationship has been going ever since.
Both of the trainers oversee student trainers, making sure that they do each task correctly.
Student trainer, Brittany Johnson, hopes to get a career in Kinesiology. She helps out in the training room as much as four times a week and also attends Palomar games for the possible assistance to an injury.
There are currently ten student trainers who provide rehabilitation for athletes so they can get back onto the field.
“I hope they walk out of here with a sense of direction,” Greenhill said of how he wants student trainers to stay motivated.
Greenhill explained how they administer all of the physicals for students. They also deal with insurance claim forms and handle phone calls with the athlete’s doctors. The trainers split the volumes of paperwork they need to review.
Trainers monitor treatment logs where athletes are required to state what type of care they are getting in the trainers room. Heise said that they typically go through three to ten sheets of treatment logs a day, with the most common injury being muscle strains.
Heise said that the most difficult injury to care for are concussions. When an athlete experiences a concussion, they hold back the truth of what they are really feeling. This type of injury is something trainers can’t put a bandaid on.
The trainers receive $7,500 for each fiscal year, but Heise explained how they manage their low budget by finding better bargains and maintaining their current equipment.
The trainers maintain their equipment so well that they still utilize an ultrasound they got in the late 1970s.
As their reward for working hard, the trainers attend the games in the afternoon to support athletes.
“I love doing this. People always say ‘you have to work next week’ and I say I’m going to school because I always learn something,” Heise said.
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