By Joao Vitor Bonanoni / Staff Writer

As part of the National Athletic Trainer Appreciation Month, the Vikings Athletic Training Department shared stories about their athletic trainers’ work and the positive impact on student-athletes’ lives.

In order to spread awareness about the important work of these professionals, the National Athletic Trainer Association (NATA) holds this celebration every March. During this year’s campaign, the association had the goal to share and highlight the fact that athletic trainers can be found everywhere. “Providing Health Care Everywhere” is the slogan for this year’s celebrations. 

Vince Fedorowich, Head Athletic Trainer at Missouri Valley College, shared his personal experience and also the impact of the Missouri Valley College AT department. Fedorowich has been working as an athletic trainer since 2007. Throughout the years, the Head Athletic Trainer has worked with a variety of cases.

“I helped out people that had heart attacks, I helped out people with cancer scars, rehabs, tons of ACLs, shoulder labrum tears, hip labrum tears…even helping people figure out they have diabetes, so all kinds of stuff,” said Fedorowich when listing some of the experiences that he has been through in his career.

Fedorowich said one of his biggest motivations to be an athletic trainer is the opportunity to help someone get to the best that they can.

“We are hoping that we can have a big impact on not just the health side of things, from a physical standpoint, but also from a mental health standpoint,” said Fedorowich about the care that the AT Department provides to the student-athletes. 

The athletic trainer commented that it’s really important to dedicate a month to recognizing what athletic trainers do and promoting this. For him, this recognition needs to remember all of the professionals that inspired and supported somehow the present AT department.

“The first thing that I always think about is thanking the people that were here before us as athletic trainers,” said Fedorowich.

Together with that, he highlighted the big influence that the athletic trainers Dr. Diane Bartholomew and John Bartholomew had on his professional and personal life. 

Ruben Jimenez is one of the student-athletes on campus who has been impacted positively by the work of the AT department. Ruben is part of the men’s soccer team and in the fall of 2019, he suffered an injury to his ankle during the National Championship Quarter Finals match. Since then, the soccer player has been working, together with the head athletic trainer Fedorowich, to get back on the field.

“Personally, I have been through a big injury that left me out of sports for a year, and thanks to him I could come back and do my best to help the team win,” Jimenez said about the work of Fedorowich did during the rehabilitation process. 

Jimenez commented that Fedorowich has been helping him since his Freshman year. In the beginning, the athletic trainer provided important support with the athlete documentation and throughout the years they built a good relationship.

“He has become my friend. We talk about the injuries, but we also share some experiences,” said Jimenez. 

The soccer player strongly believes that professionals like athletic trainers are able to make a big difference in the athletes’ life.

“Sports are not just about athletes and coaches, there is a lot of work behind, which comes from the athletic trainers to have the athletes be as good as possible before every practice and game,” Jimenez said. 

Liam Carney, Men’s Lacrosse team captain, is another athlete who recognizes the huge importance of the Vikings AT department in his life. In the past years, the lacrosse player went through two surgeries to reconstruct his ACL. Since then, he has been working with the AT department in his rehabilitation.

“They have done a really good job supporting me and making sure that I am getting back on the field in the best form that I can be,” Carney said. 

Carney also commented on the importance of celebrating the work of athletic trainers in our society.

“I think being able to appreciate the fact that they want to do their jobs, not because it’s their job, but they want to do their jobs because they care about you,” said Carney. 

Richelle Perkins, an athletic trainer with the MVC AT Department, is part of Carney’s rehab process.  Perkins shared that one of her motivations to work as an athletic trainer is the opportunity to help and assist student-athletes throughout their college life.

“My motivation as an athletic trainer is really to work with the athletes like Liam, who came in with a torn ACL, and I am able to get them back out on a field…that’s really fulfilling to me,” said Perkins. 

When talking about the importance of the National Athletic Trainer Appreciation Month, Perkins said: “It spreads awareness about what we do as athletic trainers, assisting, preventing, and helping athletes to come back.”