MARQUETTE, MI – An athletic trainer’s job is not the most glamorous in the football world, but they easily could be the MVP’s of this weekend’s U.P. Football All-Star Game. They arrive at the Dome before the players, getting their supplies ready and they leave long after everyone else is gone. They tape ankles and other body parts that need extra support for the coming practice. They pad various places on the players’ bodies that are bruised and they stretch limbs and joints that are tight. When practice is over, they treat any new ailments from that day and they continue to address any existing ones.
“Athletic trainers are the equivalent of a pit crew for a Nascar race, except they have to do every job in the pit by themselves. Each trainer is literally a one-man (or woman) wealth of knowledge regarding the best secrets to keeping players healthy and on the field”, stated Todd Goldbeck, All-Star Game organizer. “They are the reason many of these players can make it through two practices per day after such a long time away from football.”
The athletic trainers for the U.P. Football All-Star Game are being provided by Active Physical Therapy and Synergy Fitness. Scott Corkin (Active Physical Therapy of Marquette and Ishpeming) works with the Ishpeming Hematites, and helped them to win back to back state championships. Stephanie Felton and Amanda Thompson work for Synergy Fitness(Marquette) as both athletic trainers and fitness trainers/instructors. All of them have vast experience keeping people functioning at their highest physical level.
Most all-star games are unique in that they are played significantly after the normal high school season has been completed. The U.P. Football All-Star Game is no different in that respect, but unlike most larger all-star games where players specialize in only one sport, the U.P. players involved with this game also play several other sports. Some of them even played in the basketball all-star game last weekend in St. Ignace before coming to Marquette to play in its football counterpart.
What does that mean? It means that players spend a lot of time during the week feeling sore in places that haven’t been sore since last fall. It also means that they need people to help them stay physically prepared and able to keep playing at the high level they need to be at in order to compete in the game at the end of the week. There are many bumps, bruises, sprains and strains that occur during the course of practice throughout the week, and that is where the athletic trainers do their best work.
When you watch the game this Saturday, you may not notice the athletic trainers on the sideline, but rest assured, they will be working hard to do whatever it takes to return the players safely back into the action. Much time will be spent preparing the players prior to the game, and there will be many things they do that go unnoticed during the game, but that’s how they like it. That is the life of an athletic trainer.