A Closer Look: Typical Friday Night Lights for an Athletic Trainer

A Closer Look: Typical Friday Night Lights for an Athletic Trainer

It is 3:00 p.m. on Friday in early September. The athletic facility’s parking lot is empty upon your arrival. “First ones there, last to leave,” you say to yourself with a smile. School will be letting out soon so the student athletes will be making their way up shortly. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m., and there is much to be done.

 Football is the spotlight for Fridays, but soccer and volleyball athletes are coming up for treatment/rehab before football reports in. As soon as they are taken care of, you take out the equipment checklist for the field and begin to pack up the gator ATV with coolers, bottles, injury ice, medical kits, AED, splint bag, crutches, treatment tables, etc. By the time everything is set up, the football players have started arriving and are waiting in the athletic training room.

 After some small talk with the athletes about their day, it is straight to work. Getting everyone taped and in their braces/equipment correctly consumes all your time before heading to the field. Once on the field, you notice EMS is there so you meet with them and discuss the Emergency Action Plan in case of an injury. This “Medical Timeout” – similar to what surgeons do prior to a surgery– gives all the medical personnel present from both teams and the EMS a chance to introduce themselves and explain their role so everyone is on the same page with injury management protocol. It will not be long now until kickoff. Once the game starts, time flies.

 In a back and forth game, your team finally prevails! There was only one injury from the game, and you’ve already spoken to the parents about the next appropriate actions. The gator is loaded up, and all the equipment is packed inside the athletic training room. After celebrating a little bit with the players, it is time to cut the tape off and begin treatments for the ones who got banged up and arrangements are made for injury check and recovery treatments in the morning. After all the student athletes are taken care of, everything has to be cleaned.

 Finally, the athletic training room is in order, and the night is over. As you leave the athletic facility, you notice that what was just a packed stadium and an overflowing parking lot is empty again. You just smile as you get into your vehicle and pull out. Nothing new here, just a typical Friday night for an athletic trainer.


Robert Chafin, ATC

Robert Chaffin is a certified athletic trainer who provides medical coverage for Spring Valley High School sports.