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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Student Sports Medicine Assistants: Building a Connection Between Athletic Trainers and Students

Printed with permission of Sophie Cucinotta, Jayden Jenkins and Claire Knez

Any student-athlete on Colgate University’s campus can attest to the dedication and commitment of the athletic trainers and the work they do toward ensuring that Colgate’s athletic teams remain both mentally and physically healthy. Being a sports medicine assistant allows students to work closely with the athletic trainers to engage in hands-on experiences related to the sports medicine field. The job is unique in that students can incorporate their own interests regarding their preference for sports teams while also having the opportunity for flexibility in their work hours.

The sports medicine assistant role is listed as one of the on-campus jobs available to students on Colgate’s Student Employment web page, but some students have utilized their own personal connections with athletic trainers to get the job.

Senior Jayden Jenkins, a student studying psychology and a member of the Colgate men’s track team, described how he became more involved in the athletics department as a student sports medicine assistant and how the job has provided him with more experience in the sports medicine field. 

“I started my first semester of junior year, and, initially, I didn’t apply through a work study or as a job. I started off by emailing the head athletic trainer, Leslie Cowen, asking if I could shadow her because I want to go to graduate school to study sports psychology, which requires a kinesiology background,” Jenkins said.

The student sports medicine assistant position is somewhat different from other on campus jobs as it entails a larger time commitment. The job requires students to be present at many athletic events outside of school hours.  

Senior Claire Knez described her typical tasks as an assistant to Heather Wilson, the athletic trainer for both the men’s soccer team and women’s lacrosse team. 

“I’m there to help [Wilson] out in any way that I can,” Knez said. “Before practices and games, I’ll show up and help prepare. I put together the water jugs, medicine kit and bring out the AED kits. I also help prepare the girls physically by wrapping ankles or treating bumps and scrapes. I will sit there and watch practices and games and tape up their bloody knuckles or things like that. I’m there to support the girls, but, personally, I view it more as supporting my boss because of how much she has to handle.”

At times, the job can be demanding. However, as a result of this high level of commitment, students are able to form deep connections with both the athletic trainers and the student-athletes across various teams.

Jenkins recognized that this “interactive element” is his favorite part of the job.

“I know most of these people because I’m an athlete myself, so I get to work alongside our athletic trainers, who I know on a personal level because they treat me, as well,” Jenkins said. “I think it’s really cool to be under them and have them as mentors, and also interact with athletes who I don’t know as well and establish a bond and new relationship over the course of the semester.”

Because of the opportunity to build new connections within Colgate’s athletic department, the job has grown significantly in popularity, which has led to the hiring of many more student sports medicine assistants. 

Junior Sophie Cucinotta, who recently joined the program this semester, commented on the growth of the program and how its system works.

“There are so many of us, so we’re actually fighting for shifts, especially since many sports are in the off-season right now. For the new recruits, we’re given a spreadsheet with the different sports teams at the beginning of the week and [asked to] sign up,” Cucinotta said. “If you really like a sports team, if their schedule really works for you or if you like the coaches, you can be taken on by that sports team specifically and get [the] first pick of shifts.”

The goal of the student sports medicine assistant program is to provide students with experience in the sports medicine field under the guidance of athletic trainers. While the job does fulfill this goal, perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the job is that students are able to form connections with members of Colgate’s athletic department.

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