March, as you may not know, is National Athletic Training Month. With the calendar sliding into April, several Vassar student-athletes have weighed in on the positive impact that the Vassar athletic trainers have had on their careers and the success of their teams. The trainers—Suzi Higgins, Tabatha Santiago and Max Anderson—have been essential to both the success and safety of student-athletes across the numerous varsity teams at Vassar.
Speaking with varsity athletes makes clear that the trainers work tirelessly to ensure that all Brewers under their care are receiving proper treatment for any injuries they may have sustained before, during and after practices and games. The work of the Sports Medicine team seems to extend beyond basic injury care and prevention, fostering a sense of comfort for the student-athletes at Vassar.
The athletic trainers offer appointment times throughout the day, including before and after practices. Their dedication to the student-athlete population helps to not only keep athletes physically healthy, but also in the right mental place to be able to perform.
Sydney Nemphos, a junior on the women’s lacrosse team, praised the welcoming environment that the athletic trainers create, attributing her ability to perform on the field to the dedication trainers have put in to her treatment. “Personally, I’m in the training room every day when I’m in season,” Nemphos attested via email. “The trainers are extremely helpful in not only managing my injuries, but also making the training room as welcoming as possible; I’m never scared to tell them about my injuries or feel that I’m not being looked after or cared for!”
Senior Tyler Gilmore has grown familiar with the athletic trainers not only as a men’s soccer player for the past four years but also as a worker for Vassar College Sports Medicine since the spring of 2017. Gilmore explained via email that the vibe of the training room during his first two years at Vassar was what pushed him to apply to the job in the first place. “As a member of the soccer team, I regularly noticed the positive environment created by the athletic trainers in the training room,” Gilmore remembered. “I reached out to Suzi and went through a series of interviews … Luckily, I had taken a sports medicine course in high school and met the requirements to join the sports medicine team here at Vassar.”
Another student worker, senior Nicole Teta, who has been working in the training room since she was a first-year, echoed Gilmore’s and Nemphos’ sentiments about the welcoming nature of the training room. “The athletic trainers have created a home away from home atmosphere,” Teta affirmed in an email. “They care about the students and truly want them to succeed. They do everything in their power to keep the players on the field and to help them get back out there in a timely manner.” Students that work in the athletic training room, such as Gilmore and Teta, are taught many practical sports medicine skills by the athletic trainers, such as CPR, basic first aid skills, patient care, taping injuries and injury prevention.
Nemphos described how the rest of her team relies on the Sports Medicine staff as well. “I know [the trainers] are extremely important to my team’s well-being and making sure that we are feeling the best that we can, especially during league play,” Nemphos explained.
Sports medicine, as anyone who’s been injured playing sports can attest, is vital to the well-being of athletes. Student-athletes at Vassar know that the athletic trainers are doing everything they can to ensure that those under their care are getting the proper treatment. Nemphos explained that this confidence is a common sentiment felt through
out the athletic community: “We know that they will and can take the best possible care of us if we are injured, and that they will work with us to get us back on track and ready to go as quickly as possible!” “
Gilmore also explained that trainers really do go above and beyond in their jobs and have helped student-athletes at Vassar when they deal with more significant injuries, such as a concussions or ACL tears. “In addition to the everyday care that the trainers provide, they have really stepped up in the presence of serious injuries,” Gilmore commented. “The immediate trauma and long-term rehab that come with these kinds of injuries is almost impossible to navigate alone. Luckily, our trainers are calm under pressure and make rehab an exciting experience. They’re simply the best!”
According to Gilmore, he could not feel luckier to work with the athletic trainers on a daily basis. “They truly do not get enough recognition for how much effort and care they put into their jobs,” Gilmore said. “It is not easy to manage the well-being of hundreds of athletes each semester, and they all make it look effortless.”
Talking to student-athletes at Vassar makes clear that all Brewers who’ve received medical treatment are indebted to the hard work, dedication and care that Higgins, Santiago and Anderson put into their jobs each and every day. Next time you watch a game on campus, spare a second to think of the athletic trainers, even if it isn’t March.