As a new season dawned on the Fighting Scots Athletic Department, The Voice asked the heart and soul of the athletic department, the athletic trainers, a few questions. The athletic trainers play an integral role in keeping each and every athlete healthy and able to participate in their athletic endeavors. Usually operating behind the scenes, these individuals handle the side of athletics that many athletes dread. However, through their unmistakable spunk, passion, and care, athletic trainers make injuries, recovery, and everything in between that much easier for all involved. Whether it be at a 6:00 a.m. football practice, an afternoon in the training room, or a late night in the gym, the dependable athletic training staff is always ready to provide student-athletes with the care and attention they need.
My interactions with our three athletic trainers as a student training assistant are some of my fondest memories on campus. The athletic training team makes a concerted effort to improve the lives of those around them. One example of this is the gratitude that Head Athletic Trainer Nate Huston shows for the unlucky student trainers tasked with working early morning football practices. Usually taking place on the darkest, coldest days of winter, these practices are dreaded by both players and members of the training room staff. However, Nate has found a way to make these practices bearable, greeting the barely-awake team of student trainers with a box of assorted Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins. The spheres of sweetness work alongside burly winter coats to serve as the only protection against the frigid winter mornings.
Another characteristic of the athletic trainers that never ceases to amaze is the lengths to which they go just to get a smile out of their student-athletes. The nature of the training room is by no means jolly; for many, it serves as a symbol of injury or the backdrop for their recovery process. Yet, Wooster’s athletic trainers do everything in their power to make each and every trip to the training room enjoyable. This is evident through Nate’s playful attitude and the joy that each of Rachel’s student-athletes exhibit as they traipse into the training room. In his short time on the staff, Coleman has already made an impact on his student-athletes, as many warmly refer to him as Coach Coleman.
This terrific trio of Nate Huston, Assistant Athletic Trainer Rachel Novario, and the newest addition to the team, Assistant Athletic Trainer Coleman Reifke, shared their excitement for the return of full schedules for Wooster’s sports teams and a sense of normalcy. The last few semesters created new and difficult challenges for the athletic training staff, as all 23 varsity sports participated at the same time during the 2021 spring semester. Additionally, the athletic trainers were tasked with overseeing contact tracing for the athletic department and handling testing for all athletics personnel including students, coaches, and officials. Each member of the athletic training staff expressed their eagerness to put the troublesome days of the past behind them as a brighter tomorrow emerges on the horizon.
Nate Huston, the elder statesman of the athletic training staff, said that he was most looking forward to “seeing the student-athletes compete in the sport that they love and have put so much hard work into in order to be successful.” Nate then praised the strength of the Wooster community and the support that is readily available for every member of the Scot family.
Rachel Novario echoed Nate’s excitement about seeing student-athletes compete on a regular schedule, as well as having a higher number of fans attending games, since they play a key role in the game day atmosphere. When asked about her favorite part of working at Wooster, Rachel said that it was “the opportunity that I’ve had to build relationships with the teams and student-athletes that I work with, both through athletic training and my role in SAAC.” Additionally, Rachel is looking forward to a return to normalcy and a more standard 2021-2022 year.
Rounding out the training room staff is the newest member of the team, Coleman Reifke. Coleman joined the team over the summer and has since transitioned seamlessly with the help of his seasoned colleagues. The welcoming community of Wooster was something that Coleman emphasized, saying, “everyone has welcomed me and helped me settle into my role as an Assistant Athletic Trainer.” Coleman went on to compliment the competitive athletics that the college offers while still holding student-athletes to a high standard in the classroom. He also reiterated the excitement of the other athletic trainers when speaking about his anticipation of student-athletes returning to full competitive seasons. He added that the energy around the athletic department is infectious and that he is looking forward to watching it transfer onto the field.