Before the first coach or athlete shows up, the athletic trainer is there preparing for the day. The athletes that need extra time rehabbing or getting treatments will be the next to wander in and the athletic trainer will start working with them. Later, the athletes that just need a little heat or to get taped will wander in with the first coaches and the managers will come in. The athletic trainer will get that group of athletes ready and help make sure the managers get the water. Then the athletes, coaches and managers head out to the field while the athletic trainer collects his gear and then joins them.
Once everyone is out to the field the athletic trainer is keeping an eye on everything. They’re making sure water coolers still have water and it is getting to the athletes. They’re keeping an eye on the athletes watching for any indications of injury. They watch to make sure that every time an athlete goes down, that they get back in a reasonable amount of time and that they are unharmed. They watch closely if an athlete gets hit in the head to make sure they show no signs of concussion. They observe closely for signs of heat or cold illness, dehydration, or anything that may show that all is not well with an athlete. They treating and evaluating the occasional injury. They often miss the big play of the game, even though they are right there on the sidelines, because their attention is on an athlete with a potential problem.
After the game is over they tend to anyone that may need it on the field. They check with other team to make sure everything is fine with them. Then they head back to the athletic training room and start putting away their gear. About the time they get everything put away the first of the athletes returns to the athletic training room, along with the managers. The athletic trainer then cleans and bandages any wounds that weren’t already taken care of on the field, and reclean and check the ones that were. Evaluates and ices any other injuries that occurred and makes sure athletes that had existing injuries are getting their ice. After all of the athletes are taken care of they tend to the water coolers, bottles and any ice chests, making sure that they were cleaned and put away properly. And when all of that is done and the last of the athletes have left they clean the athletic training room.
Finally, they sit at their desk and start filling out any injury reports, treatment notes, insurance forms, doctor referrals and any other paperwork that needs to be done. They make sure all reports and forms are signed and properly filed away. Then everything is checked one last time before they leave, well after everyone else has already gone.
Game or practice, the routine is pretty much the same. The athletic trainer is just about always the first one in and the last one to leave. The hours are long, the thanks minimal, but the satisfaction of knowing that they sent everyone home safe makes it all worthwhile.