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Got their backs: Trainers support team, build relationships


VIDALIA — Arms folded, head forward — she waits, she watches — scanning the field back and forth, up and down. Seemingly, nothing can break her concentration.  Well, not until she hears someone calling her name.

Often times nudging between football players for just enough room to view the action, Corryn Bourke sees everything. After all, she needs to — it’s her job.

Now in her junior year, Bourke is the head student athletic trainer for the Vidalia High School Vikings, tending to just about everything that could happen on a football field.

“I’m not just out here waiting for someone to get hurt,” Bourke said. “Everybody else isn’t out here watching them practice. I see all of it, every day.”

Between practice and games, Bourke has a list of things to accomplish from day to day. For her, it starts during seventh period.

“It’s my PE class, but I’m either with the team watching film or in study hall with them,” she said.

After school, it’s out to practice. In her three years of service, Bourke has missed practice just five times.

By now, it’s a routine of taping wrists and ankles, while making sure the players have everything they need. Bourke said can be anything from helping them pull jerseys over

their shoulder pads, to checking to see if everyone has a mouthpiece.

When she started training as a freshman, however, Bourke didn’t exactly know what the job would entail.

“I didn’t know what I was doing at all,” she said. “You just kind of have to be able to go with the flow. I volunteer to be here, and I choose to dedicate my time, so I feel like I have to uphold my end. Last year, nobody else really did anything, so I had to just step in.”

For Adams County Christian School’s head trainer Anna Perrin, there is a method to how she handles a situation.

“We try to take the stress off the coaches as much as possible, especially on game day,” she said. “Everybody else thinks we don’t do anything, but it’s kind of like being their second mom. It’s the coaches job to teach them about football and help them grow as young men, but it’s our job to do everything else.”

After seven years as a trainer, Perrin is now in her senior year. Despite loving the sport, she said there have definitely been bumps in the road.

“One time there was three nosebleeds at practice at one time. I had blood all over my shirt,” she said. “Another time I was literally holding one of them because he was crying after he got hit in the face.

“It is a hard job to do, but I’ve probably saved their lives a few times.”

Between the crazy mishaps, Bourke said, the reward is all that matters.

“It’s about seeing their hard work pay off, especially if they come out with a win,” she said. “To see all they go through makes it 10 times better. They have such dedication to the game, and you always have a whole family of brothers behind you.”

At Cathedral High School, senior trainer Emma Thibodeaux has one brother that ranks above the rest — her twin Owen.

Thibodeaux said while it is nice to be with him, it is not really something she thinks about.

“It’s all I’ve ever known. At first he would never ask me for anything and that kind of annoyed me because I couldn’t figure out why,” she said. “As we got a little older, I think he figured out that I knew what I was doing.”

In her three years of service, Thibodeaux said one of the best parts is being able to show her school spirit alongside fellow senior Elena Romero.

“It is helping in another way,” she said. “People who are in the stands and people who are cheering and dancing provide support, but they aren’t the ones taking care of them and looking out for their wellbeing.”

When it comes to senior night for Thibodeaux, Romero and Perrin, they all agreed it will be bittersweet.

“All of us are really close so it’s going to be weird not being with the same people every day,” Thibodeaux said.

“I’m really close with most of the seniors, so I’m going to cry,” Perrin added.

And though she still has another year, Bourke said she would not trade the hard-worked hours for anything.

“Even though I had no idea what I was getting into, I really didn’t think I would leave with a bunch of best friends,” she said.


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