Behind the scenes of success

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Behind the scenes of success

Denise Grider, KHS athletic trainer, tapes a student's foot before practice.

Denise Grider, KHS athletic trainer, tapes a student's foot before practice.

photo by Chloe Hooker

Denise Grider, KHS athletic trainer, tapes a student's foot before practice.

photo by Chloe Hooker

photo by Chloe Hooker

Denise Grider, KHS athletic trainer, tapes a student's foot before practice.

Kate Hennessey, sports writer

The office looks more like an after school hangout rather than a medical office, students lounge on cushioned benches chatting to others while casually waiting to be helped, some students help themselves to tape or ice bags. The environment’s loud and active with Denise Grider, KHS athletic trainer, and her staff hustling to help every athlete, yet it provides a breath of fresh air for students who after spending hours confined in classrooms taking tests and scribbling notes, are ready to focus on a physical test rather than a math quiz.

“We jump straight into the after-school rush,” Grider, said. “We go strictly from the list, first come first served. If [an athlete] has a game then we help them first and then we work our way down by who has just practices.”

Along with basic injury prevention methods, Grider also helps athletes with rehab procedures. A large portion of the athletes she helps are football players because of how high-contact in the sport. She said she gets to know the football players better than anyone else with the amount of training help they receive.

“[Grider is] there if there’s injuries suffered during practice or to make a diagnoses or recommendation,” Farrell Shelton, head football coach said. “From there, if [the injury] goes to a doctor and [the athlete] comes back with rehab, [Grider] helps with the rehab. If [the injury is] not something that [requires] surgery, then Denise will provide the rehab and carries out [the procedure] from her professional point of view.”

“It doesn’t have to be about sports, it can be school or relationship related or if I need advice, she’s always there.””

— Emilee Autry

 

 

 

 

Grider said she hopes to build strong relationships with all the athletes she sees. Grider helped Emilee Autry, junior, after she injured her shoulder in a soccer game. While rehabilitating her shoulder, Autry said she viewed Grider as a support system and felt she could come to her with any questions.

“[Grider is] like my best friend,” Autry said. “She always has candy and you can talk to her about anything. It doesn’t have to be about sports, it can be school or relationship related or if I need advice, she’s always there.”

Working at KHS for seven years, Grider did not consider working in a high school setting for her career at first. She said saw herself in a clinic doing more of strength and conditioning, rather than injury prevention and healing.

“I started out at Francis Howell High School, but I also [worked with] the River City Rascals, a minor league baseball [team],” Grider said. “It was an overwhelming amount of travel. A high school setting is more rewarding because athletes are seeing their most growth, [especially] during their junior and senior year.”

Grider and her staff attend varsity games, with the most high contact sport taking priority, than going from low contact to JV and freshmen level sports. When attending the games Grider enjoys watching a previously injured athlete return to their sport, and sometimes performing better than before their injury.

“I like that there’s something different everyday and I’m not sitting in my office all day,” Grider said. “I’m going out and visiting all the sports and meeting different kinds throughout the year. It’s rewarding and I feel like a mother hen here.”

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