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The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The unsung workhorses of the MC Athletic Department

James McCormac
Ryan Clark tapes quarterback Jack Elliott’s wrists pre-game.

Here at Mount Carmel, a unique extracurricular activity is offered to students in which they can learn how to be an athletic trainer.

In Illinois, only a little more than half of schools have athletic trainers. Student trainers have many responsibilities that they have to do every day. While Ms. Meghan Lockerby, the professional athletic trainer at MC, is always available, she often needs assistance with time-consuming tasks such as taping the wrists and ankles of over fifty football players during the season. 

Student athletic trainers do a variety of tasks, but are the busiest on game days, especially Friday nights in the fall, when our football team usually plays. “We have a checklist on Google Classroom,” said Ryan Clark, head student athletic trainer. 

Clark, a junior now, started working for Mr. Julius Henry as a trainer last year. Clark then headed the program at the beginning of this year and has worked with all of the current student trainers for the past two years as well.  

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 “For junior varsity games we have to get out the tables, fill up the water, get the crutches, the stretcher, and then bring the gator around to the front.” 

But that is only for the junior varsity game. Afterward they have to refill the water jugs and bottles and then tape the varsity players. It’s time consuming, and currently there are only four student athletic trainers there on football game days: Clark, junior Declan Deering, senior Krystian Hawryla, and junior Alex Urban. 

The pre game setup for a home field football game. (James McCormac)

It is important that the student trainers are at  practices or games so that players can get taped in time. “We help take the load of [Athletic Director] Coach Segroves who was doing all of the athletic training work throughout the summer,” said Deering. 

One of Coach Phil Segroves’ initial hurdles when taking the athletic director role was the absence of an athletic trainer after Mr. Henry stepped away from the role at the end of the 2022-23 school year. While looking for a replacement, Coach Segroves took up the helm and was taping the players prior to Clark and Hawryla’s push to bring back the program. 

Student trainers are also required to help out at practices for multiple sports. “I usually come in, tape ankles and wrists, and then fill up the water and cart it out to varsity practice,” said Clark. “Then the junior varsity guys come in and I get their water and give it to them.” 

For other sports, student athletic trainers are active as well, especially during the basketball and lacrosse seasons. However, these are significantly easier to do than football because there is less set up time. Basketball has significantly less players than football and is played indoors closer to the training room. This means there is less setup when it comes to games and practices. 

There is a specific set of skills that an athletic trainer needs. A fellow  trainer would usually teach underclassmen how to tape wrists and ankles. “I learned how to tape wrists on the Dan Ryan in Krystian Hawryla’s car last year,” said Clark. “He taught me how to tape a wrist while we were driving home.” He then went on to learn from Mr. Henry, Ms. Meghan, and YouTube.

Along with senior mentorship, student trainers learn their skills from professionals like Mr. Henry and Ms. Lockerby. “We learn from trial and error or from Julius and Megan teaching us how to do things,” said Deering. There is also a lot of practice involved in perfecting ankle taping and giving players spats, which is when a player has their foot taped to their cleat for extra support. 

“I bought a foot mannequin,” said Clark, “and I learned how to tape ankles through Youtube, and Mr. Henry helped me out. I was not the greatest at ankle tape or anything like that, but as I went on I got a lot better at it.”

Lineman Joe Chirillo gets his ankles taped pre-game. (James McCormac)

Trainers are an essential part of the operation that is Mount Carmel Athletics. “It’s just a lot of very tedious and behind the scenes work throughout the week,” said Deering. “We keep our 676-day win streak going.” As of recently the Mount Carmel varsity football team has been undefeated for nearly two years. This year the team is looking to go 14-0 twice in a row for the first time in MC history. 

This experience that Mount Carmel offers students will help them choose careers later in life. This is a great opportunity for students at MC, especially if they do not participate in many sports. 

“I seriously didn’t think this was anything I was going to pursue,” said Clark, “but now I’m considering it as a career path.”   

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About the Contributor
James McCormac
James McCormac, Staff Writer
James McCormac is a junior at Mount Carmel. He lives in Bridgeport and attended Old Saint Mary's Grammar School. James is a member of the Varsity football team, the chess team, boxing, and The Merchant. Outside of school James enjoys doing volunteer work. His hobbies are reading and lifting.