By Chloe Spradlin
When University of Montevallo women’s soccer goalkeeper Cassandra Bodi walked into the athletic training room, inside the McChesney Student Activity Center, she was greeted by the four athletic trainers, Amanda Compton, Maureen Wood, Kailin Parker and Hailey Wiest. Bodi receives daily rehabilitation for her torn ACL but also receives much more from them.
“They’re really like the glue for the athletes with their success. Like, just on a daily basis, they’re there for everything and anything we really need,” Bodi said. “They put in countless hours, and they’re honestly underpaid and underappreciated sometimes by certain people and athletes, but they’re definitely appreciated by a lot of athletes. More than they know.”
The UM athletic trainers provide physical and emotional support for over 400 student athletes competing for the university. Their work does not go unnoticed by the athletics department, but it can go underappreciated.
The athletic trainers deal with difficult hours and a heavy workload. Parker says they work a minimum of 70 hours each week, even on their off days, and the weekends are busiest.
Wiest said: “I think being understaffed has been challenging, just because we’re all like kind of scrambling around, especially with a COVID year. It’s kind of wild, so just trying to make sure that everyone feels taken care of and not neglected, but trying to keep that balance and not overwork ourselves and overtire ourselves.”
Each of the athletic trainers have relationships outside of the athletic training room with their athletes, and consider them friends and not just people requiring treatment.
When speaking about her athletes, Compton said: “You guys send me text messages over breaks, just to check in and say hi, and keep me up to date on how your life is going. So, I know that I’m making an impact in your life as much as you are in mine. I would say yes, I feel appreciated, and I appreciate you guys.”
Other universities typically have five or six athletic trainers and take responsibility for just a couple sports. UM trainers deal with three to five sports each with little campus and administrative support. Wood says recognition from athletes and coaches are “more important than the administration, because [they] know what we actually do.”
Bodi said: “I know no one wants to get hurt and no one wants to spend the amount of time I have in the training room… but they’ve truly changed my life in a sense of me getting better. And now, like even after my time here, like I’ve made lifelong friends and mentors with them.”
With the help of all four athletic trainers, Bodi has been cleared to play after six and a half months of rehabilitation, far below the average nine-month period of recovery for a torn ACL.