Behind the scenes, athletic trainers keep players moving

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PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) -- Determined, dedicated and resilient: these are all qualities many athletes possess.

But behind the scenes, there is an athletic trainer that helps bring these qualities to life.

Soccer Player Justice Robinson may be new at Louisiana College in Pineville, La., but she has already found her way into the athletic training room.

"I actually had my ACL and Meniscus repaired," Robinson said. "When they did that, they noticed I dislocated my patella."

Now, athletic trainers monitor her healing process before and after practice.

"They make you feel comfortable because as an athlete, you never want to admit you are injured," Robinson said. "So she just talked me through it, told me exactly what she was doing and how it's supposed to help."

Their job is vital to an athlete's performance, but usually occurs behind the scenes.

Head Athletic Trainer Jon Hay said he always wants to get a player back onto the field.

"But, I'm also greedy," Hay said. "I want to make sure that they are good for the rest of their life. Football, that is a sport, it's a game. I want to make sure they have a good joint or body part not only for that sport, but when they graduate from here."

Beginning at 7:30 a.m. to about 5 p.m. the athletic training room door is constantly revolving.

"We have a saying: we may doze, but we never close," Hay said.

His day starts early in the morning and he stays until the last practice or game is over.

While the job usually requires over 40 hours a week, he said he doesn't mind.

"It's a fun job for me, there is no doubt about it," Hay said. "Being with the athletes for home games and practices. When they come in here they may be pretty banged up, but they always kind of bring a little whit and humor with them."

After playing football over the last four years, player Ryan Demattie knows he can count on Hay.

"I know I can call Mr. Jon up and be like hey would you mind coming and looking at this, and he has no problem at all," Demattie said. "They are very accommodating to the athletes."

Now, Robinson knows that too.

"Whether it be a blister, or like my knee," Robinson said. "You need someone there that knows what they are doing, someone that can give you different options."

In June, the Louisiana College athletic training staff was a co-recipient of the 2016-17 American Southwest Conference Athletic Training Staff of the Year award.

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