Home Features Behind OATS: Students making a difference in athletes’ lives

Behind OATS: Students making a difference in athletes’ lives

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Credit: Becca Lambert, 42Fifty

Editor’s Note: 42Fifty Managing Editor Jamani Reed is in the Oswego Athletic Training Program. She was not involved with the writing, reporting or editing of this story.

Here at Oswego High School, sports are a very big deal, but where sports are, injuries follow. When athletes get injured, someone has to be there to help them—that’s where the Oswego Athletic Trainers come in, also known as OATS. The students in the training program take a class at school to learn about athletic training. They learn how to tape and learn about different injuries. To get into the training program, you have to fill out an application, get a teacher recommendation and be picked to get into the class. You also have to have a minimum of 300 or up to 500 training hours. You can get the hours either in the training room after school, or by helping out at different sporting events. 

The students in the training program go in after school and spend a few hours in the training room helping out the athletes. Many of the athletes here at school use OATS. During football season, the trainers are there giving water and helping players when they get hurt. They do the same during the basketball season. 

Having the training program is giving help to the trainers, teaching students who are interested in the medical field, and is giving them a jump start on their future career. 

The same group of trainers work year-round to gain experience.

“The days they aren’t here and something happens, that’s a missed opportunity to learn about an injury or apply knowledge,” Mr. Brian Cronin, the head athletic trainer, said.

The training room is always there after school for the teams practicing. It is also available after practice or during, if needed.

“When I would get really tight calves and shin splints, I’d go down and they would give me ice,” senior Mia Novak, a track and cross country runner, said. 

A lot of what the trainers do is taping. Taping is a process that helps hold any injury in place so the athlete can potentially keep playing.

When going to college to be in the medical field, there is a class on how to tape. All the kids in the training program at OHS are getting a jump start by learning this skill in high school. 

The program is also helping them to actually see if they want or can handle a career in the medical field. The students that join the training program most of the time are somewhat interested in the medical field. Joining the program gives them a look at what working in the medical field is like and lets the students see if it really is for them.

“[OATS] gives me the experience,” junior and athletic training student Lilyana Hallam said.

When the training program first started, it was very small, but so was OHS. As the school grew, so did the program.

“As we grew, there was a need for more certified athletic trainers and more student help,”  Cronin said.

When the class originally started, it was only a half-semester class when the school was on block scheduling. When OHS transitioned out of block scheduling, the class became a full year.

“This way, the students could be exposed to all the different sports and get to see a variety of injuries as a result of those sports,” Mr. Cronin said.

At the school, there are currently three certified trainers that work hand in hand and teach the students in the training program. Having the training program is giving help to the trainers, teaching students who are interested in the medical field, and is giving them a jump start on their future career. 

The athletic trainers go to a competition every year, where they compete in all the skills that they learned in the program.

There are some guest speakers that come in and talk to the students, and there are many different competitions that the trainers compete in, like a written test, taping, and real practicals. 

“It’s a chance for [the trainers] to get to apply some of the knowledge they learned and a chance to meet other kids interested in the same kind of stuff,” Mr. Cronin said. 

The trainers form close bonds with each other, and they see each other in class and after school almost every day.

“[Join OATS], do it! It’s not scary, it’s a lot of fun,” Hallam said.

Many of the students really enjoy being in the training program and recommend it to others.

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