Cody Arant

Caleb Turrentine / The Herald Wetumpka athletic trainer Cody Arant may not be on site during workouts right now but he is still checking in with players and coaches to make sure things are being done correctly to keep players safe.

The shock and disappointment from team activities being canceled is not be completely gone yet but high school athletes are not letting any of it show. Players have quickly gotten back to work with the limited resources they have as they try to stay in shape to be ready for their return to the field.

Unfortunately, they are missing out on a big resource that is often available on campus and not easy to duplicate from home. Athletic trainers are key to making sure programs are running safe workouts and being on campus makes immediate care more accessible for any injuries but the shutdown has affected that availability and both sides are working through the unique challenges.

“The part that worries me is they are not coming in because they don’t think they have the accessibility,” Brent Vinson of Phoenix Rehab said. “They may be at home, not getting better and avoiding training sessions because they are hurting. They normally have quick access and that’s been taken away. That’s why I want to communicate with coaches to make sure those players know that door is still open.”

Vinson and his team work with programs across the county and despite not being on site, they are keeping an eye on any workouts to make sure players are doing things correctly and staying safe.

Samantha Yates, who does most of her work with the Holtville athletic programs, is now doing more work in the clinic with Vinson but she said she has still kept in touch with athletes. Yates said they have done some check-ins at the clinic but others have stayed home and are still getting some treatment by using the Zoom video conferencing.

“I have talked to several of my athletes through there and keeping tabs on them,” Yates said. “If your parents don’t feel comfortable with it, which is understandable, we can video you. They can show us where it hurts and they can replicate different exercises so we can see where they are doing something incorrectly. We may lack the face to face but we are trying to use the technology that we have available.”

Wetumpka’s football team has been doing full team workouts over Zoom and athletic trainer Cody Arant has jumped in on some of them but it’s not the same as being on the field or in the weight room with the players.

“When you’re with them all the time, I know what to look for,” Arant said. “I can see a football player limping when running routes or a softball pitcher wincing when she throws but if you can’t see those things, you can’t address that. They can be a little timid to admit some of those things or maybe they just don’t know how to reach out. They aren’t thinking about that all the time like we do. It’s a challenge for sure.”

Without the athletic trainers staying on top of the players at all times, even more responsibility has shifted onto the shoulders of the coaches and even parents, who see how their kids are walking around the house. 

“If I could just tell all of them at once it would just be to let them know if there is anything wrong, you are more than welcome to reach out,” Arant said. “I got in touch with (Wetumpka) coach (Tim) Perry to let the guys know we’re in clinic and available. If you have something going on, let’s knock it out and take care of it now. We have the time to do this now so we can make sure to not have something that will linger into the season once we can get back out there.”

Vinson said, “We are trying to touch base to make sure they are staying engage. Usually you can walk out of the weight room or field to find a trainer when they are hurt. They can’t do that now. So we have to make sure those kids know they can communicate when they have an injury or anything that feels wrong. You can tweak those workouts based on what issues you have just like we would at the school.”


Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.