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Student trainers play key role in keeping football team healthy

| Friday, November 3, 2017

Although they spend most of their time in the training room or on the sidelines, Notre Dame’s student trainers perform a valuable service for the football team. Working closely with the head trainers of the Sports Medicine staff, student trainers are responsible for everything from providing the players with water to assisting trainers with medical treatments.

Photo courtesy of Rose Hart

The football student trainers work with the head trainers and play an integral role in helping the team stay healthy.

Junior Rose Hart said she wanted to be a student trainer before she was even at Notre Dame. Her brother, a former Notre Dame student, told her about the program and encouraged her to do it, she said.

“I had been telling my friends since junior year of high school, ‘I’m going to be an athletic trainer at Notre Dame,’” Hart said.

Student trainers’ primary responsibility is working closely with head trainers to ensure the players are healthy and hydrated on and off the field, Hart said.

“We do pre- and post-practice treatments,” she said. “We’ll assist the head trainers in whatever they need us to do. It’s a lot of taping ankles, wrists, fingers.”

Junior Claire Boyce works alongside Hart and said the student trainers enjoy their responsibility.

“We work in the training room helping with rehab treatments and other responsibilities,” Boyce said in an email. “We also work with the football team and take pride in being ‘hydration specialists’ at practices and games.”

Although games can be hectic on the field, Hart said the trainers always have a good time on football Saturdays.

“Sometimes it’s a little bit of running around, making sure everything’s good,” Hart said. “Everyone’s so nice and helpful. It’s not really that stressful. It’s mostly just fun.”

Not only do student trainers put in up to 20 hours of work during football season, but they sacrifice typical game day experiences, such as tailgating and cheering alongside their classmates in the student section.

“Initially I thought I’d miss tailgating, but once I started working the games, I realized being on the sidelines was just as fun,” Boyce said. “Working alongside the team every day, I’m very invested in ND football, so I love getting to watch the games from the field.”

Hart said she was worried about missing out during her freshman year but has come to love working on game days. This year, she worked the first two home games but had the third game against Miami (OH) off. She said she spent the day tailgating with her friends and family but missed being part of the training team.

“I found myself missing being inside game day — getting to be on the field before the game, and setting up, and seeing all the pre-game things,” she said. “It’s a very different experience. I definitely don’t regret it, but sometimes my friends miss me.”

Both Hart and Boyce have been student trainers since their freshman year, when they applied, interviewed and shadowed upperclassmen for a year before being selected to continue for the next three years. Hart said the student trainers have a great community with each other and the teams with which they work.

“There’s about 20 of us and we’re really close, so it’s really fun,” Hart said.

The student trainers even have some traditions of their own, including watching the team walk to Notre Dame Stadium before every game, Hart said.

“One of my favorite things to do is after we have everything set up and we hear the band start to play, Claire and I will run up to the top of the Stadium,” Hart said. “I stand at the top and look over and can see the Main Building, the Basilica, the library and everything. I get to see the team walk in and all the fans get really excited. It’s an awesome view.”

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