The trainers behind the players


Image: Jen Jones

After pitching, Isabella Haswell uses blood flow restriction therapy to help with the muscle endurance for one of the players.

With any sport, injuries are bound to happen during game time or at practice. While there are paramedics on standby when the immediate injury takes place, the athletic trainer must react quickly and effectively when an athlete sustains an injury.

Mercer University has developed a master’s program that recruits trainers and takes on graduate assistants to keep athletes safe. The result is not only beneficial to the trainer, but it also keeps the athletes healthy on and off the field.

After practice Kate Adcock supervises ices baths that many of the players take post-workout. Photo by Jen Jones

During the summer, a normal day for a trainer starts at 5 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. This includes everything from therapy to weight lifting. A trainer must be present to reduce the risk of injury during workouts.

Isabella Haswell was a graduate assistant in Mercer’s program and will be attending nursing school in the fall. She was also one of the trainers who worked at Mercer during summer training.

“Anytime the guys are there, we have to be there a little bit earlier and a little after,” Haswell said. “It’s not the worst, it is just definitely early.”

Kate Adcock worked with Haswell as a graduate assistant through the same program. She worked in the season and during the summer as a trainer for Mercer. Adcock also worked for the Coastal Plain League team, the Macon Bacon.

“It was a separation from Mercer, so I got to meet new guys and work baseball,” Adcock said. “Every experience for me is beneficial because it is a new place and a new environment and a new sport to learn from.”

Haswell and Adcock said that the atmosphere during the season tends to be more intense due to game action and more contact with others. The program, however, works with trainers to prepare for this tonal shift.

Kate Adcock observes the players during the first day of camp. Photo by Jen Jones

“We call it ‘baptism by fire,’” Haswell said. “We are thrown into situations, but you learn by knowing and seeing.”

The program further educates the trainers and keeps the athletes within Mercer’s program safe, so they can get back on the field and play the sports they love.