By Nikki Colonna
Behind every Lynn athlete, there is a trainer to keep him or her together and ready to perform, an individual to act as the behind-the-scenes support.
Sarah Holton, head athletic trainer, works alongside trainers Andrew Lalli, Jen Eick and Brian Vogler. Each trainer is responsible for tending to different teams, but they all work together to keep each and every athlete strong.
Holton helps with volleyball, men’s basketball, women’s tennis and women’s golf. Eick surrounds herself with women’s basketball, cross country and lacrosse. Vogler takes control of men’s soccer, softball and men’s golf, while Lalli handles responsibilities with baseball, women’s swimming and women’s soccer.
“I love being around active, motivated people who want to get better on the field or court, in both practices and games,” explained Holton.
A day’s work for these individuals consists of many tasks, such as wrapping ankles for athletes before practice, keeping an eye out for anything that could happen during practice and simply being on call. Of course, they must also be ready to give out ice or treatment after practice, ensuring the athletes are taking care of their bodies.
Many daily responsibilities make for challenging moments, but extensive training prepares these trainers for both the expected and unexpected, particularly when an athlete suffers a serious injury or physical setback.
“[It is challenging] to help maintain positive morale during difficult rehab protocols,” said Lalli. “It can be tedious and sometimes frustrating for athletes going through a long return-to-play protocol, but I have to make sure that I am constantly a means of support throughout the whole process to help them get back to where they want to be.”
Despite the tough weeks, early mornings and long bus rides to tournaments and games, these trainers are not only dedicated to their athletes but also enjoy the rewards that come with their job. They take pride in their craft and savor helping others.
“The most rewarding thing is being able to see a formerly injured athlete make it back to competition in the sport they love,” said Holton. “The rehab process can be long and frustrating, but finally being able to see that athlete step back into their sport – there’s nothing better.”
Lynn athletes also seem to respect the trainers, their rules and their recommendations. Athletes can often be found coming in and out of the training room throughout the day, whether it is for ice, physical therapy or a friendly conversation with their trainer.
“The athletes at Lynn are great, and I enjoy working with all of them,” Lalli said. “My athletes and I may rib each other from time to time, but it comes from a place of respect and being comfortable with one another. It makes the job that much better for me.”
These trainers do not often get recognized for the amount of work they put in and rarely get credit for keeping the athletes healthy, but their behind-the-scenes efforts certainly make them appear to be deserving of both.