Backbone of our athletes: A look into Westmont athletic training

The+Westmont+Sports+Medicine+facility%2C+located+next+to+the+Murchison+Gym.

The Westmont Sports Medicine facility, located next to the Murchison Gym.

Katherine Bouma, Staff Writer

Here at Westmont College, athletic trainers in the sports medicine department work hard on a daily basis to support and accommodate our collegiate athletes. From administering rehabilitation programs to meeting with coaches and athletes, head trainer Melissa Katherman, along with assistant trainers Bridget Coonan and Jenna Allocco, “enjoy that we have a privilege to walk alongside these athletes as they navigate through their injury, faith, academics and even life after college.”

Katherman began her athletic training career when she studied at the University of La Verne. She gained experience in a variety of collegiate sports working as a student athletic trainer, just like what many Kinesiology students participate in at Westmont.

Katherman — who has been working at Westmont since July of 2019 — explained, “it is not easy being a college student, let alone a student-athlete, and being able to have the opportunity to be a light for them is such a blessing.” She noted, “after seeing the mission statement for Westmont, I knew this was the type of environment I wanted to be in.”

Melissa Katherman, head Athletic Trainer.

Katherman stated that from beginning her job at Westmont to battling seasons being cut short due to COVID-19 has been “a wild journey.” She expressed that “there were many challenges that we as an athletic training staff and athletics department faced; however, the people I get to work with daily made it all worth it. Working at Westmont feels like a dream when I think about the team I am a part of, and the support that is constantly present. Since working at Westmont my faith has grown immensely, and I am truly grateful for the relationships that have formed while being here.”

First-year Elise Hyde, an athlete on the Westmont women’s soccer team, stated, “a cool thing about the athletic trainers is that they not only help you with your athletic injuries but they are also there to help connect you to other resources on campus whether that be for your mental health, like counseling, or for your spiritual life. They’re like a friend.”

All trainers are very skilled and well-rounded within the athletic medicine field. Katherman described a normal day for her and her team as “appointments with athletes who are coming in for an evaluation, rehabilitation programs, treatment for an injury in order for players to return to their sport or taping prior to practice. Our days may also include meetings with coaches and/or athletes, setting up for sporting events on campus and providing medical coverage for those events.”

Not only does the department provide help for the health and safety of Westmont student-athletes, but the trainers also mentor and teach Westmont’s very own student-athletic trainers so they can in turn gain well-rounded knowledge and are prepared to work in athletic medicine or other administrative tasks.

We are very grateful to have these wonderful trainers here at Westmont. If you see Melissa or any of the other trainers around campus, make sure you say hello and ask about what they are up to!

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