Behind the tent: The team supporting the Buffs

Week in and week out, Buff and Lady Buff athletes train to stay in shape and compete against their opponents. Athletes and teams at West Texas A&M University are often recognized for their hard work and dedication, but there is another important team on campus that works just as hard.

Photo Courtesy of Jaclyn Wood

The mission statement of WTAMU sports medicine found on mentions, “The WTAMU Sports Medicine staff will strive to fulfill the athletic healthcare needs of all WTAMU Student-Athletes in a professional, ethical, and equitable manner.” 

Athletic trainers have a number of different tasks and jobs to perform in order to properly assess the needs of the WTAMU athletes. 

“It can be anything from the glorious filling up bottles to the taking the surgery or doing the rehab after surgery,” said Jaclyn Wood, assistant athletic trainer. 

The trainer’s jobs may be vast, but they have a strong passion and love for what they do and developed an interest at a young age. 

“Growing up playing sports, all different kinds of sports…I got hurt a lot and it was like watching them [athletic trainers] do what they’re doing and I was like, yeah I could do that,” said Luke Kasper, director of sports medicine. 

Throughout their time here at WTAMU, they have built a number of good relationships with players and coaches alike. 

 “So we’re unique in that, like a lot of doctors will just, they’ll see the surgery or the patient in office, we get to see from injury to all the way through and hopefully them being successful afterwards,” Woods said. 

As an athletic trainer, there are a vast amount of sports and athletes to work with, making the job fast-paced and busy. 

“Human interaction is definitely I think the best part of it. That’s, you know, part of the reason why I chose this setting as well because in athletic training, there’s a ton of different settings that you can go to,” Kasper said. 

With the help and support of the experienced athletic trainers at WTAMU, there have been a number of student athletes that have recovered from injuries that took them out of the game for long periods of time. 

“I had a kid that had wrist surgery, broke her wrist and then has come back and has been very successful in the softball field. So that’s always nice. I mean, the girls were saying that I looked like a proud mama after she hit her first home run coming back,” Wood said. 

Though the job may be difficult at times, the trainers are always there to help and take care of their student athletes to the best of their abilities. 

“We see the kids sometimes on their worst day, and then when they return…So it’s nice to see that full evolution of things,” Wood said.