Athletic training program supports Oviedo Athletics


Audrey Strembicki

Student athletic trainer Payton Pagan transfers water bottles at an Oviedo football practice.

It is well known that Oviedo High School Athletics is widely successful across its various sports programs. What most people don’t know is that OHS Athletics is upheld by an athletic training and sports medicine program, led by trainers who work to support student athletes. 

Students, faculty, and fans usually see athletic trainers on the sidelines of OHS sporting events, making sure athletes are hydrated and physically fit to play. This is what causes people to assume that the only role of the trainers is to help out on the sidelines.  

“We overheard some of our athletes [saying], ‘Oh, those are the water people’. We don’t just do water,” said assistant athletic trainer Loudenve Marc. “We’re medical professionals, and our student athletic trainers are helping us with that medical activity.”

Since the adult athletic trainers are licensed medical professionals in the state of Florida, they can also aid athletes in getting cleared to play or compete. Adult trainers complete paperwork and communicate with doctors, medical insurance companies, and parents of athletes. This allows them to document, treat, and work on preventing future athletic injuries. The only people who can allow injured athletes to return to play are athletic trainers, physicians, and physician assistants, so having trainers nearby can save a game for a team.

“If a referee sends an athlete out to be checked, and there’s no one to check them, that athlete cannot return,” said Joel Chisholm, an assistant athletic trainer. “If that’s your star player, that’s it for the team.”

The OHS athletic training program also works to help student athletes financially. Instead of having to pay to get treated by a doctor, student athletes can choose to get treated for free on campus by the athletic training and sports medicine program. 

“Some kids don’t have insurance and they will end up having to pay out of pocket if they go to a rehab center,” said Marc. “Instead, we can take them through their rehab and they can get ready to play.”

OHS athletic training also guides students participating in the program to their future careers or passions. Students can go on to become a professional athletic trainer or pursue a career in a related field. 

“We’ve had so many student athletic trainers that have gone on to be doctors and physical therapists and athletic trainers and in the NFL and physician’s assistants,” said athletic trainer Erica Zimolzak-Coe. “A lot have gone into the medical profession because they enjoyed what they did here.”

Another component of high school athletic training programs is the relationships that student athletes form with the trainers. Being treated by someone who knows you personally  and your goals can outweigh treatment from a doctor who you don’t have that relationship with. 

“After you get an initial injury, they’re the ones who calm you down, they’re the ones who walk you through it,” Marc said. “I like the fact that I was once being evaluated by someone that I saw every single day.”