Unsung heroes: trainers keep athletes tip-top

      In the world of Wildcat sports, there are two people that are vital to every athlete’s survival: the athletic trainers. As the ones that help heal every injury and stretch every tight muscle, without the athletic trainers, teams would not be able to function. One of West’s head athletic trainers, Jim Tonn, has always been interested in the medical world.
      “I’ve more or less always been fascinated in the human body and what it can do, what’s possible, what its potentials are and seeing it realized in form and function in a sport,” he said.
Like Tonn, Andrea Kraemer, the other head athletic trainer, always knew she was destined for the job. 
      “I knew I always wanted to do something in the medical field, but I didn’t want to necessarily spend forever in medical school,” she said. “So I was registering for classes in college, and there was a sports medicine and athletic trainer brochure, so I looked into that.”
      Being an athletic trainer comes with many ups, but every once in a while, disaster strikes. Kraemer knows that with her training and specialties, she can turn it around.
“I don’t like when I see someone suffer a serious injury that takes a lot of rehab, but the most rewarding part is when you rehab them back fully to be able to compete again. I had a gymnast who thought she was going to be out for the entire season,  but we rehabbed her back in time to compete in sectionals and made it to state in bars as a senior.”
      Tonn and Kraemer are always willing to help anyone reach their highest potential and always have a positive outlook, which is why many look up to them. Like most athletes, senior Alison Pankse has formed close bonds with the trainers who have helped her recover from her injuries.
“I’m not glad that I was injured, but I’m glad I got to work with them every day during my recovery.” she said. “The trainers pushed me to work hard and that helped me make a quicker recovery.”
      Junior Jared Jaeger has been helped immensely by the trainers and is thankful everyday. 
“I tore my ACL completely and had additional damage to my MCL and Medial Meniscus and [the trainers] have been getting me through my rehab every day for about two hours over the last seven months,” he said of the pain-staking process. “They have been very patient and have helped get me back to health. I am very grateful for all they have done for me.”

By: Taylor Ferrere 

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