Behind-the-Scenes Heroes of Lakota Sports: Athletic Trainers

Behind-the-Scenes Heroes of Lakota Sports: Athletic Trainers
Lakota is known for its stellar sports teams, with many local, regional and state champion teams covering a wide range of sports. Yet, they all have one commonality: the support and care of our athletic trainers.

During March, athletic trainers across America are being recognized for their commitment to helping people prevent injuries and stay healthy and active as part of the National Athletic Training month. The observation is held annually in order to spread awareness about the role of athletic trainers.

At Lakota, the trainers are present at games and practices to ensure the best care of our student athletes, working with the coach and player to coordinate conditioning, provide injury care and rehab, and ongoing monitoring of players for injury prevention.

“I am continually impressed with the dedication and compassion all of our trainers exhibit,” said Lakota Superintendent Dr. Karen Mantia. “They put in a great deal of time and effort to ensure our students are well cared for and are able to perform their best.”

Lakota has six trainers including Cory Jacobs, Kevin Stokes and Lauren Westfall at East and Betsy Bonifas, Christy Hahn and Sara Reuscher at West. Their backgrounds are varied, but their love of working with the students is shared.

"One of the things I enjoy most about being an athletic trainer is the constant change,” explained Stokes, who has been an athletic trainer for 15 years and is completing his first year with the district. “Many people can come in with the same injuries, yet because everyone is different in how they respond to the injury, your care will be different so you have to be able to adjust each day.”

Westfall agrees, “The best aspect of being an athletic trainer is being able to help an individual from initial injury, through rehab and ultimately seeing them return to their activity or sport.”

It’s not all glamour and glory, as the position often requires long days due to game and practice schedules, but to the trainers, it’s worth it.

Adds Jacobs, “This profession has its ups and downs, standing in the rain, sleet, or snow, very hot days, but you are helping some of the best young men and women that Lakota has to offer, and Lakota sports are the best in Cincinnati!”

On behalf of Lakota Local Schools, thank you to our athletic trainers for all of their time, energy and expertise in keeping our student athletes safe and “in the game!”