Student Athletic Trainers Excel on the Sidelines: Getting a taste of pre-health and experiencing athletics from a different lens

Two Athletic Trainers ride cart
Athletic trainers, rollout; student athletic directors get on the move to treat student athletes. Courtesy: Reid Cohen

The job of a student athletic trainer is the perfect balance of work and play, giving students the chance to stay involved in sports from a new perspective.

Located in the Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Wellness (CARW), the Pomona-Pitzer (P-P) athletic trainer’s office offers a unique paid opportunity for students to get involved in the athletic scene on campus through the lens of sports medicine.

A normal day for a student athletic trainer entails a two-hour shift directed by P-P’s professional training staff. They perform general maintenance tasks, such as filling up water coolers for games or folding towels. Student trainer Camille Huxol PO ’26 added that if time permits, the professional trainers, including Becky Roark or Kylie Reid, will often hold teaching sessions for the student staff.

“If it’s a pretty light day… they’ll ask, ‘Do you want to learn how to wrap an ankle?’ or something, and then I get to practice, which is fun,” Huxol said.

These lessons often involve learning how to treat and prevent injuries through taping ankles and wrists and even ultrasounding injured athletes. For current athletes, especially those who have been injured before, becoming a student athletic trainer creates new attitudes towards sports, as varsity lacrosse player Reid Cohen PZ ’24 noticed.

“It’s kind of a new perspective on injuries,” Cohen said. “Being someone who is injured, I have just learned more about the body.”

Kit Bennett PZ ’25, an athlete on the P-P women’s water polo team, noticed that for athletes who are less familiar with injuries from ground impact, it gives them brand-new perspectives on injuries in sports.

“It’s [water polo] not as high impact as on the ground, even though it is a very physical sport,” Bennett said. “It’s nice to see how other sports can go to the trainer’s to utilize preventative measures.”

Trainers are also able to attend and work athletic games. This allows them to support the varsity teams as fans as well.

“It’s really nice because you get to be paid while going to the games,” Huxol said. “[You] get to be on the side of the field in the actual action.”

Besides more involvement in athletics, involvement in the athletic trainer’s office gives opportunities to those interested in pursuing the pre-health pathway.

“The thing that makes this job different from others on campus is that it is more related to the health field, and so it helps me develop skills that I can use in the future,” Ahnwyn Bowden PZ ’24 said. “And then it also boosts my resume.”

Since none of the 5Cs offer a sports medicine or physical training (PT) major, the trainer’s office creates sports science opportunities for pre-health students, allowing them to practice hands-on skills and discover if they are interested in pursuing a career.

“A lot of students who are pre-PT or pre-med are able to get hours not only shadowing the athletic trainers, but also getting hands-on experience,” Bennett said.

For those who are not as interested in pursuing a pre-health pathway, they noticed other reasons and benefits from being a student athletic trainer. Huxol noted that it adds some variety to life in contrast with her normal academic interests.

“It hasn’t overlapped with my major,” Huxol said. “But I feel like that’s why I like it so much. it’s kind of fun, light-hearted things that are actually useful in my life to some extent.”

For Cohen, a great perk of the job is the relationships it allows student trainers to make across the world of athletics on campus.

“I’ve honestly made a lot of friends there,” Cohen said. “Now I have a few more friends on other sports teams, which is fun.”

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