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SWHS student trainers are some of the best

"Photo: South Whidbey's student athletic trainers can tape up practically any an injury, and almost anything else for that matter. That skill plus others they have learned this year earned them an eighth-place finish at last month's state tournament for student trainers.Matt Johnson / staff photoIf an athlete is going to play in pain at South Whidbey High School these days, that athlete is going to get taped, iced, and massaged before, during, and after the game. Doctor's orders. Well, not exactly doctor's orders. Trainer's orders, actually.For the past three years, injured Falcon athletes have received the healing touch from students enrolled in one of the largest athletic training programs at any small Washington high school. It is also one of the best, as proved by a delegation of eight South Whidbey trainers which placed eighth in last month's state trainers tournament at Wenatchee High School.Representing South Whidbey's 55-member training corps, Reuben Baker, Jennifer Barrow, David Glassmeyer, Andrew MacDonald, Kelli Berry, Jodi Taylor, Erika Huget-Towne, and Hayley Gabelein had to think on their feet during the two-day contest, which tested their knowledge and practical, on-the-field injury prevention and treatment skills. Huget-Towne said working with and around hundreds of other trainers made her feel that she is part of a professional community.You can get the feeling of what it takes to be a professional with people in the same field, she said. We can connect on that whole level.Reuben Baker, the only senior to go to the tournament, said he and the other trainers found they still need to do more book work to prepare for the event's written and oral testing. But in the area of practical skills, he said the Falcon trainers have few peers.We're good a taping stuff, Baker said.David Glassmeyer said he already knows what he is going to concentrate on next year.I think we need to spend more time concentrating on individual muscles, Glassmeyer said.Erin Van Ry, the program instructor and the school's only professional trainer, said the semester-long training course and the competition at the state tournament have inspired several South Whidbey graduates to do continue learning about physical training. Recent grad Kelly Grimes is currently in the athletic training program at Washington State University. Another graduate, Alison Burt, is taking similar courses through Edmonds Community College.These students left South Whidbey High School with a solid base in athletic training. Van Ry said they not only learned how to treat injuries on the field, but how to rehabilitate injured athletes and prevent injuries from the start of the season. Van Ry said the training program exists thanks to some recently created funding. In addition to the funding the program receives as a regular class at the school, it also receives additional amount for every student from the state's vocational program fund. This year the program got an extra boost when it picked up an additional $5,000 in vocational funds to purchase a new backboard, a therapy table, heat packs, and individual training kits for students working at high school athletic events.The program is worth it, since the student trainers do hundreds of hours of work that might otherwise have to be done by a professional. The most training intensive sports are football and basketball, Van Ry said, with each team requiring the attention of a half dozen trainers at some games and practices. David Glassmeyer, for example, logged more than 300 hours of training time with the girls basketball team last winter.The training program expanded this year, offering an advanced course in addition to beginning courses. Van Ry said she hopes the program will attract even more students next year."

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