by Joey Giragos, Sports Editor
graphic by Adrienne Lirio, Graphics Manager
Having an athletic trainer at a high school, especially one as large as South, is a necessity. However, during the last four years at South, this necessity has become an inconsistency.
South has had five different trainers since current wellness teacher Patrick Jordan-Quern transitioned from trainer to full-time teacher in 2019, and it has proven extremely difficult to find a long-term trainer. Athletic director Patricia Gonzalez said that South’s unique needs make it much more difficult to hire a trainer.
“Our school is a very large school and requires a lot of flexibility, thinking quickly on your feet, and being organized, which for some people is very daunting,” she said.
Both Gonzalez and Jordan-Quern said that the amount of qualified candidates has decreased because as of 2022, a master’s degree in athletic training is required to become a trainer in Massachusetts.
Jordan-Quern said he believes that some potential candidates may be deterred by the salary that comes with being a full-time trainer.
“The position is still significantly underpaid for being a professional career,” he said. “[An athletic trainer position] isn’t attractive enough for the highest level of quality athletic training.”
This vacancy proved most problematic last spring when athletes didn’t have any trainer at all.
Junior lacrosse player Lola Fayngersh said that for many of those who dealt with injuries during or before the season, the lack of a trainer threatened players’ well-being.
“When people are at risk for [further] injuries, not having a trainer can heighten that risk,” she said.
This anxiety inflicted by the lack of a trainer was shared even in athletes who had no previous injuries. Sophomore baseball player Luke Leger said that being put through some quick exercises or getting taped up before a game can make a considerable impact on a player’s health.
“It’s important to have trainers so you can stop these injuries before they happen,” he said. “Conditioning is key.”
Junior softball player Josie Weiner said that during one of their games, a serious collision resulted in a player’s parents calling an ambulance and bringing emergency medical technicians to the field, later leading to the cancellation of the entire game.
Weiner said that without a trainer, the incident was not handled properly and, had the injury been worse, could have resulted in more serious consequences.
“Since we didn’t have a trainer that day, it wasn’t obvious what to do,” she said. “We had to have a lot of inexperienced people help out.”
With a low salary, a large student population and a lack of stability in the position, the challenges that come with being an athletic trainer at South are vast. However, Roni Bazile, the athletic trainer starting this fall, said he is ready to take on that challenge and add longevity to a position that has lacked in recent years.
Bazile, an avid tennis, basketball and Call of Duty fan who hails from Brockton and attended Salem State University, said that he is excited about his new role and meeting all of his colleagues and the students.
“I felt like this is a great place and I’m just looking forward to meeting everybody,” he said.
As managing a large school as a single trainer will be difficult, Bazile said it would take some time to adjust completely.
“I’ve never been in a situation where I’m the only trainer in the school and taking care of everybody that walks in,” he said. “It’s going to take some time to figure out how to operate on a day-to-day basis.”
Despite the difficulties that Bazile is projected to face, Gonzalez said that he will have excellent support to help him learn the ropes.
“The athletic department is unique in the sense that we work as a team very, very closely,” she said. “We will support him as much as we can with all the administrative parts.”
Bazile said he hopes to make his first job as a trainer a position that lasts.
“As of right now, I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon,” he said. “This is a great school […] I’m going to have the support that I need and the resources that are available to me to do my job properly.”