Ripon’s athletic trainers find satisfaction keeping student-athletes safe
As National Athletic Training Month in March comes to a close, we honor the athletic training program at Ripon College. Brian Azinger is the head athletic trainer of the three full-time trainers at Ripon College. The others are Sami Woolson and Logan Galezio.
Azinger says that an athletic trainer’s job is to prevent injuries and help with recovery from athletic injuries. This means that they are present at practices in case an injury occurs and work with the student-athletes to develop a treatment plan to get them back to playing when an injury occurs. They assist with preparing student-athletes for surgery as well as rehabilitation after surgery. It is all about keeping the players safe, Azinger says.
Although their day-to-day duties varies greatly, Azinger says, Ripon’s athletic trainers attend practices and events, “especially home events, but we do travel with some of the teams, depending on the team and situation.” They also have student-athletes coming in to do rehab exercises or to soak in the cold tubs, for which a trainer has to be present. They also might help with pre-game and practice taping of joints and muscles to help support and prevent injuries, but that task is mostly done by student workers in the department.
To become an athletic trainer, a person must graduate from an accredited athletic training program, a master’s-level program. Ripon College does not have such a program, but Ripon does offer preparatory work. Azinger says there is “an athletic training track in our exercise science department, and I look at that as kind of a pre-physical therapy.” Because students who want to go into athletic training will have to go on to graduate school, the courses in Ripon’s program prepare them for that, ensure that they have the prerequisites they need and introduce them to the kinds of athletic training courses they will take in graduate school.
When Ripon students start in a graduate program, they will know some of the terminology and how to do some of the basic tasks already. At Ripon, they also are given the opportunity through the injury evaluation course to work with athletes through rehab and to get hands-on experience. This course also is popular with students going into physical therapy or going on to medical school, Azinger says.
Azinger says his interest in the field started when he was in high school. He did not play a lot of sports but he was involved in sports and liked being around them. When a basketball coach asked if he wanted to be a manager or a trainer, he thought that being a trainer sounded like the better option.
His favorite part of being an athletic trainer at Ripon College is getting to work with the student-athletes. He appreciates that they are playing for the “now” and are giving it their all, and he gets to work with something new every day.
Jillian Heidenreich ’21