The unsung heroes of Simpson athletics

by Matt Bower

There are many people behind the scenes in Simpson athleticsthat aren’t often seen or heard about.

Sometimes these people are taken for granted and just acceptedas part of the sport, and they rarely receive the recognition andgratitude that they deserve.

These men and women are the unsung heroes and heroines ofathletics often times an integral part to the success of anathletic team or organization.

Without them, fans may not see their favorite player on thefield or court, or players may have to wait for a ball to betracked down. Time matters in a game when the momentum is on yourside.

All of these things are made possible by supporters of theStorm, from soccer’s athletic trainers to ball boys and the chaincrew at football games.

Athletic trainers are not only involved on the field or thecourt during games and matches, but they also hold many duties andresponsibilities off the field.

“One of the things each one of us does is teach courses,” headathletic trainer Neil Nelsen said. “We teach all the courses in theathletic training program.”

In addition to educating students in the classroom, athletictrainers play a key role in sporting events. They’re present ateach practice and game in the event that their assistance isneeded.

“We take care of injuries and emergencies on the spot,” Nelsensaid.

However, an athletic trainer’s job is not done once the game ormatch is over.

“We also do rehabilitation for injuries with the athletes offthe field,” Nelsen said.

Nelsen in is in his third year at Simpson as an athletic trainerand his favorite part of the job is interacting with students.

“I like working with the athletes and getting to know them,”Nelsen said.

Nelsen isn’t alone in enjoying working with and helping thestudent athletes.

“Seeing an athlete come back from an injury and playing again isvery satisfying,” said Mike Hadden, assistant professor of physicaleducation and program director of athletic training and exercisetraining.

Hadden is in his seventh year at Simpson, but has been anathletic trainer for 15 years.

He’s not always thrilled about the amount of paperwork thatcomes with the job, but he doesn’t let it get in the way of doingwhat he loves.

Nelsen agreed that athletic training can be quitetime-consuming, especially during the overlap seasons.

“There are times where I’m here on campus from six in themorning to eight at night,” Nelsen said. “It’s just a lot of timespent on campus sometimes.”

There’s a lot of work that goes into being an athletic trainer.Aside from teaching courses and attending practices and games,trainers are also responsible for designing strength andconditioning strategies and. The trainers also work with theathletes to help ensure health and peak performances.

Besides athletic trainers at Simpson’s athletic events, anotherkey part of football and volleyball games at Simpson are ballboysand ball chasers. These personnel play a key role in Simpsonathletics, although it may not always be recognized.

“It’s part of my work study to be ball boy for football gamesand a ball chaser for volleyball games,” freshman Ethan Holmessaid.

Holmes said that the main downside of the job is being at thefield early in the morning.

“We have to go to the field at 8 a.m. the day of the game andset up the field with yard markers and flags,” Holmes said. “Havingto go to the field at 8 a.m. Saturday mornings, kind of kills yourFriday nights.”