ankle wrap — while blindfolded.
Student athletic trainers from around Orange County convened for Orange County Public Schools’ Athletic Trainer Olympics Monday, March 16, at Barber Park in South Orlando.
Locally, West Orange, Ocoee, Olympia and Dr. Phillips all were represented.
Events included a race in which participants demonstrated how to carry an injured athlete off the field, wrapping an ankle while blindfolded, a crutch relay race and an ice bag relay race, among others.
The games are intended as a fun way for student athletic trainers and other students in related classes to unwind and socialize with student athletic trainers from other schools.
“This is a way to kind of get them all together in the end (of the school year) and practice everything they’ve learned — but still make it fun and competitive,” said Nikki Reis, head athletic trainer at Ocoee High School. “They meet, they network, they make new friends.”
And, although score was kept and awards were handed out, most of the participating teams kept a casual, jovial vibe at the games.
“For us, the purpose is just kind of to have fun,” said Danielle Perrotti, head athletic trainer at Dr. Phillips High School. “Our kids didn’t practice — we kind of like to just let them wing it and have fun, figure it out while they’re here so there’s not pressure.”
Although the events that day were a lighthearted affair, the trend of students taking an interested in athletic training at the high school level isn’t. Most of the participating schools have a system in place where students can take basic course, such as First Aid and Safety and Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries, and work their way toward becoming a student trainer that helps during actual varsity competition.
“We have tons of kids apply and we only take 15 each year, give or take,” Reis said of Ocoee’s program.
Even for those who don’t get accepted to assist their respective school’s head trainer, the curriculum is valuable — including information on a myriad injuries, CPR-certification and information about heart attacks and strokes.
On another level, the early exposure to one arena within the broader umbrella of the medical field can be valuable even if students decide athletic training isn’t what they’d like to study in college.
“It’s pretty cool for them to get involved (early),” Perrotti said. “A lot of them don’t really know what they want to do so by coming and being part of athletic training they either know, ‘This is something I want to do,’ or, ‘This is something I don’t want to do.’”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].