With March being National Athletic Training Month, there probably is no better time then to recognize the efforts of all athletic trainers while spotlighting two — Sam McMullen-Hamilton (Troup High School) and Jason Kraus (Jacksonville High School) — of the area's head athletic trainers.
Often one of the first to arrive at work and many times one of the last to leave, the work of athletic trainers should not be confused with the duties of a personal trainers, who deal with fitness and conditioning.
Athletic trainers work to prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries and sports-related illnesses.
Athletic trainers are not lone wolves in their field as they work hand in hand with physicians and other health care officials in an effort to prevent, treat and rehabilitate injuries.
Some athletic trainers work with individuals that are employed as baggage handlers, dancers, soldiers and law enforcement officers; people who must have a sufficient range of motion, strength and stamina to be able to properly perform their duties.
Sam McMullen-Hamilton, Troup High School
McMullen-Hamilton first got into athletic training as a junior at Jacksonville High School when she began to serve under then JISD athletic trainer, Jeff “Doc” Shrode, who is now at Bullard High School.
It didn't take McMullen-Hamilton long to realize that she had fond, what quickly turned into her dream job.
“As soon as I started doing athletic training, I knew that is what I wanted to do,” McMullen-Hamilton said. “I love helping people and being around sports.
“If I go to a sporting event, it's really to try to sit in the stands. I feel like I have to be down on the field, that's where I belong, so that I can able to help kids who can't help themselves.”