When you think of McDaniel Football, the first thing comes to mind is the players, but there are people behind the scenes who the team depends on, the athletic trainers. The trainers are the backbone of the team.
Greg Nebbilink, the Head Football Athletic Trainer, has been with McDaniel for 27 years. He oversees one certified trainer and three students, Darlyne Atatsi, Elise Wiesnegger and Larissa Fon Tendo, who work both practices and games. They take care of everything from taping the players, icing and heating their injuries before practice and games, as well as facilitate in morning rehab. During practice, they monitor the players and make sure they don’t get themselves injured and provide water and tape if needed.
Some challenges they face as athletic trainers is that every player handles injuries differently. “You can have one plan for one player and then you will have a completely different rehab plan for another because of their injuries and healing process,” explained sophomore Elise Wiesnegger, who is in her second year on the job. Another challenge they face is, “getting the skills down. It is a lot of taping,” said Larissa Fon Tendo, a sophomore who is also in her second year of working as a student-athletic trainer.
Greg Nebblink, who works about 20 hours a week, explained his challenges with being a trainer, saying that, “Personally, the amount of time I spend away from my wife is hard. Professionally, the hardest thing for me is making sure the athletes don’t fall through the cracks.”
The student trainers can work anywhere from four to fourteen hours a day depending on if it is a practice or game day. On game days, they may have to be at the training room as early as 6:00 a.m. depending on if the game is home or away and get off at 8:00 p.m., or later. During preseason they worked from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. No matter the day, each and every trainer puts in the hours to help keep the football team up and running.
For the Homecoming game, trainers had to be in the training room at 10:00 a.m. to “[Get] ice, water, [and] make sure everything is stocked up. We also had to tape the players and give them the encouragement they need,” said sophomore Darlyne Atatsi. Although the job can be tough they all enjoy it.