Breaking the mold: LHHS women as football trainers

More women today are meeting the challenges of a male-dominated work force. Throughout the football season, this held true at Lake Highlands High School.

Four young ladies performed a job that has, in the past, usually gone to young men. Mary Smith, Shanaz Paigah, Anne Richardson and Cara Vanberg worked hard this season as football trainers.

When the bell rang at 3:50 p.m., the football players began lining up outside the trainer’s room. In the commotion, the trainers quickly wrapped ankles, knees and arms to prepare players for the upcoming practice.

This was just one of the many jobs the trainers performed daily. They ensured the players were medically fit, as well as helped players recover from and prevent injuries.

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“I think preventing injuries and rehabilitating the players from injuries is the most important part of the job,” Paigah said.

Preparation for game day was a long, difficult task. Ice and water bottles were prepared. Everything from towels to cups was organized. Players were taped. The trainers also loaded and unloaded buses before and after games.

During the game, the trainer’s job continued. When a player left the field after a play, the trainer checked the player’s health and took appropriate action.

“We hold their hands when they have problems. We are like their mothers,” Smith said.

“It’s like being on the front row of a concert,” Smith says. “Sometimes it can get violent, because when the game is won, the players in the excitement will run into you with the pads without realizing it.”

“It is very interesting and fun being a trainer,” Richardson said.

Expectations for both lady and men trainers are identical: They must be hard working, endure long hours, be open-minded for developing skills, and be punctual.

“We try to teach them the basic skills,” coach Higgins said.

“The new trainers are mainly in training to be trainers.”

“We love coach Higgins; he is like our second dad, and this is like our second home,” Smith and Paigah said.

“We are just one big happy family,” Richardson said.

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