KWHS Students helping out the athletic department

The Key West High School (KWHS) Athletic Department has a shortage of professional athletic trainers, but that doesn’t stop the students from providing the athletes with what they need. Consisting of Alexandra Mucci, Isabella Montejano, Katie Graft, and Grace Opalsky, these students have stepped up and taken on the role of student athletic trainers. 

For not having a professional degree, each of the student trainers has practiced and learned new skills to better the athletes, whether it’s giving them proper hydration or techniques to maintain a functional body. 

Right after school, each of the student trainers is ready to mend each player that comes in. “We wait for the people to come out for tape, hear, etc.,” said Montejano, a junior at KWHS. “Most of them who need help know to come pretty early before practices because it’s usually just one to two of us due to [being involved in] sports and extracurricular activities.”

Alexandra Mucci is wrapping a KWHS football player’s hand with tape before practice. Photo by Ella Hall

The pressure of dealing with medical situations is a struggle as-is for an adult, so for a high schooler to take on a professional role is overwhelming. “None of us are in any way medical professionals, and while we do have an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) near the field all the time, it’s just not enough,” stated Montejano. 

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, completing a bachelor’s degree, medical degree, and residency program takes an average of seven to twelve years (www.bls.gov). However, these girls have only experienced about one to two years of apprenticeship to KWHS’s old trainer. “Technically, we are only student trainers,” claimed Mucci, a KWHS junior. “We aren’t supposed to diagnose since we aren’t 100% educated.”

Even though they are still learning, their newly gained knowledge goes to their priority of keeping the football players fit and healthy during the 2021 season. With the Conchs’ total number of five wins, the student trainers have proved that they upheld their precedence. Either home or away games, the girls are always there to help the boys earn a win. “We stay throughout practices [and games] just in case something happens,” explained Mucci. “We also give ice, help rehabilitation, and stretch the players throughout the season.”

Isabella Montejano is applying heat to a KWHS football player’s back during their practice. Photo by Ella Hall

Not only does this position apply a positive impact to the KWHS athletes, but also the girls. “I’ve learned a lot about the logistics of the position and came to be able to diagnose some simple injuries,” disclosed Mucci. If this bunch wants to pursue a career in the athletics medicine field, the experience they are attaining benefits them for the real world of sports. 

With all the hard work they do for the players, the student trainers don’t get as many funds and supplies as they like. “I think that if the school wanted to support us, they would find a real trainer,” shared Montejano. If you would like to donate to the KWHS athletic trainers, Venmo @amucci12, and state in the reasoning that you are a donator to the athletic trainer department. 

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