Athletic trainer plays vital role in students’ health

By: Jennifer Jacobs

While all sports are different, they all have one thing in common: injuries. 

All teams, whether it be football, wrestling, cheerleading, etc, are constantly beating themselves up. When a typical student thinks of NAHS sports, they automatically think of the stars of each team, the coaches, the games, and all of the other blatantly obvious things regarding the teams. However, there is one thing, or in this case person, who holds them all together.

Meet Elizabeth Mattson, the NAHS Athletic Trainer. Located on the far side of the wrestling room, behind the auxiliary gym, Elizabeth, or Liz for short, can be found busy at work. After the final school bell rings, she works diligently wrapping injuries, giving ice baths, and stretching student athletes. Hired by a local doctor through a contract with the NAFCS Corporation, Mattson was assigned to work here at NAHS. Mattson averages about 50 hours weekly in the fall and 40 in the spring or winter.

“The most challenging part of my job often is being patient with people, because it gets crazy in here,” said Mattson. “Trying to get everyone done and to practice at the same time is difficult.”

It’s not difficult to understand why getting everyone ready for practice would be a challenge. It is estimated that 20-30 athletes visit Mattson in the spring and 60-80 in the fall, daily.

“Without Liz, there would definitely be a lot more injuries,” said junior cross-country and track member Bailey Knable. “I have shin splints and she wraps them in ice. No matter what’s wrong with you she always helps you or at least has an idea of how to make it better.”

Some of the more common injuries that Mattson deals with are ankle and wrist sprains.

“Liz wraps my ankle well, it helps me get through all the practice I have that day,” said sophomore Bulldoll Rachel Shipton. “I wouldn’t be able to do my dances for either of my teams without her.”

Not only does Mattson help to heal injuries and prevent others from happening, but she also forms personal relationships with the athletes that visit her.

“The best part of my job is getting to know the athletes and then seeing them succeed on the field,” Mattson said.

According to student athletes, Mattson is always friendly to everyone who enters her office and helps them to the best of her ability.

“There is a lot of variety,” says Mattson, “It is not boring. That’s what I like about my job.”

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