The Team Behind the Team


George Olsen

Trainers assist an injured player off the field.

There is a very important team here at Lake Ridge. They have made the playoffs every single year, yet never won a trophy. No, it’s not the football, volleyball, or soccer team. Its the athletic training team. The students who join this team, spend their after school time helping the athletes of all sports by keeping them safe and hydrated during practices and games.

The trainers are led by Cody Purcell and Erin Strat, or as they are both affectionately known by the students, “Doc.”

“They are both very hands on, and both really good teachers,” said Sophomore Natalia Cardenas who has been a trainer for two years. “They’ve taught me a lot and are good role models.”

Sophomore trainer Caitlyn Simpson enjoys the environment Doc Purcell and Doc Strat create on and off the field.

“They both are laid back, but they have high expectations. They expect us to know what we are doing, and they don’t treat us like we’re little kids,” said Simpson.

While the atmosphere may be laid back, Doc Purcell understands that they do have a very important role during games and practices.

“The trainers are the emergency first responders, so when an athlete gets hurt we are there to take care of them whether its a sprained ankle or a broken bone,” Purcell said.

The athletes may have a thousand things rushing through their heads on game day, but they also are able to recognize the importance of the trainers.

“If the trainers weren’t here, lots of of injured players wouldn’t be able to play. They keep us safe,” said Elijah Grantham, sophomore football player.doc2

Grantham is sure that trainers are essential for the athletes to stay active in their games. Coaches are also just as thankful as the players.

Jessica Tyler, head volleyball coach, states that the daily help her team gets from the trainers is a key to her success on the court.

“We’ve had a lot of nagging injuries that made the girls go to the training room everyday,” Tyler said. “Our trainers make sure that everyone is in shape to play and ready for action in.”

So while appreciative for the players and coaches recognition, the trainers admit that there are some gruesome parts to their job.

“The worst thing I’ve ever seen on the field was when a guy from another school hurt his neck, and he couldn’t look up. I was really scared, but we got the ambulance there and they took care of him,” said Cardenas.

“I saw a kid break his ankle and it was all twisted around. It was gross, but I was calm and helped him through it,” said Simpson.

Trainers admit that their job may be difficult and time consuming to do, but they do take pride knowing they have helped make a difference to a team.

“If we prevent a player from having an injury, we are helping him make an impact in the game,” Purcell said.

“In the end, if we have a healthy happy team, I feel good because I know I did a small part to help them win,” said Cardenas. “Plus we get cupcakes after games.”