The Blinn College Sports Medicine Program celebrated National Athletic Training Month this March by raising awareness about the industry.
"I love working with our athletes because they are so excited about playing their sport here at Blinn College and that really motivates me to try to do a better job for them," Blinn head athletic trainer Donna Jones said. "This is an industry that is growing so we want to teach, and invest our time and energy into the student athletic trainers we work with."
Jones, a former softball player at Texas A&M University, has served in the field of athletic training for 40 years. Joining the Buccaneers in 2009, Jones oversees a staff that includes athletic trainers Lauren Moreno and Gene Kirkpatrick, along with approximately 15 student athletic trainers.
"We are in charge of all of the medical care for our student athletes from doctor's appointments to bracing and taping them for practices and games," Jones said. "Our goal is to make our athletes as healthy as possible, so they can play to their optimal performance."
The sports medicine staff plays a large role in the Blinn College athletic department, overseeing the health of 380 athletes this year.
"Our student athletic trainers play a big role since this is a junior college with a large athletic department and so many athletes," said Moreno, who served as a student athletic trainer at Blinn from 2011 to 2014. "Being a Blinn College alumna helped me become the athletic trainer that I am today since it is known for athletics and academics. I want to give the student athletic trainers the same experience I had here because my Blinn days were the best days I ever had and why I wanted to come back."
Student athletic trainers at Blinn College have an opportunity to work with all athletic programs, including men's and women's soccer, football, volleyball, men's and women's basketball, softball, baseball, cheer and dance. Next year, men's and women's golf will be added.
"Students at Blinn gain the hands-on experience that makes them a better practical athletic trainer because it isn't always exactly like it is in the textbooks," Kirkpatrick said. "You get to work in multiple sports which is great because working with a football team is a lot different than working with a baseball team since you get to see different kinds of injuries."
Kylie Key, freshman kinesiology major, started as a Blinn student athletic trainer in August and predominantly works with the Blinn College baseball team.
"I chose Blinn because you can get all of your pre-requirements out of the way and get on the field for more experience than you get at a University your first few years," Key said. "I am the only trainer for Blinn baseball so have learned how to be more independent with scheduling and treatments. I love working with the athletic department because we are like a big family."
Sophomore Jessica Edwards is in her second year as a student athletic trainer at Blinn, mainly working with football and soccer.
"I wanted to take this opportunity to prepare me for when I move on to a University and the trainers have taught me so much about scholarships, internships and what to expect at the next level," Edwards said. "I have learned a lot about how the body and healing process works. It has been great helping the athletes through the healing process and preventing them from getting hurt."
For those interested in becoming an athletic trainer, please visit http://buccaneersports.com/information/sportsmedicine. After submitting the requested information, the sports medicine staff will contact you for a campus visit on a game day.
All student athletic trainers will report to the Blinn-Brenham Campus during the first week of August.
"This is a great opportunity because most junior colleges do not have this big of an athletic department," Moreno said. "There are a lot of injuries with sports because that is the nature of the game, but we love working together to get them back on the court and field."
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 38 NJCAA national championships since 1987.