Athletic trainer to the rescue


Maria Kildahl

The clock has five seconds left on it and Hailey drives towards the hoop. Three seconds…two….one…she shoots and scores! Unfortunately, in her aggressive drive to the hoop, down she goes with what appears to be an ankle injury. Jodi Waltenberg, Amherst high school’s athletic trainer, runs out to medically assist the injured Falcon.

School athletic trainers show up to home sporting events to aid any injured athletes. From bloody noses to scraped knees to broken bones, the trainer is there to assist with immediate care for the athlete. On non-game days, they are there to help manage long term injuries or any pain that an athlete may encounter. The athletic trainer’s ability to be there and assist athletes who are injured helps those athletes get back to playing faster.

As an athletic trainer, Waltenberg has helped many athletes achieve their fullest potential in all types of sports. She has helped injured players who thought they might not play again get back to the sports that they love. Waltenberg has helped athletes continue to perform even through long standing injuries such as shin splints or any type of tendonitis. Waltenberg states that the most common injuries that she treats are knees for females and shoulders for males. She also said she works on various other injuries on a day-to-day basis, never knowing for sure what she might encounter.

Waltenberg likes how every day is different. “I don’t know what each day will bring. Some days I have lots of athletes to treat and others I just have paperwork to do. I enjoy making connections with players that can last beyond their high school athletic careers.” Jodi’s main goal is getting athletes back in the game.

Jade Lucht is a football player who went down in the fall of 2022 with a MCL injury. Having worked with Waltenberg through his injury, he noted, “Having an athletic trainer is good because then they can help kids who are struggling with an injury and they can give them exercises to help with that and they are more effective than going to the doctor.” He found that the trainer was very helpful and helped him get back to playing football by the end of the season. Lucht also said that athletic trainers are happy to help, but the athlete needs to be willing to put in the effort to get back to playing as well.

According to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, 62 percent of injuries occur during practice and 8,000 students get treated daily for sports related injuries on a yearly basis. The athletic trainer helps them all. A trainer on average helps about 60 teams annually, treating roughly 600 patients in a year. Their value to sports teams is noted in those numbers and the amount of athletes they treat.

Multiple coaches have commented on how the athletic trainer has helped their athletes. Mark Lusic, Amherst’s head football coach, said, “ Jodi is part of the football staff. She may not coach, but she is part of my staff just like any other coach. We communicate almost every day about injuries and trying to get our athletes back on the field as soon as possible.” He also stated that Waltenberg has the final say for when his athletes are cleared from a potential concussion because he believes she knows best as to when the athletes are ready to play again and he is relieved to not have to make those decisions.

Wrestling head coach Christopher Karl added, “ Jodi is the GOAT (Greatest of All Time). No questions asked. She keeps my athletes on the mat all season. She promotes rehab and prehab exercises to help build stronger and better trained athletes. Jodi is a great addition to our athletic staff. Athletic trainers are undervalued and the wrestling team appreciates all her hard work and dedication to us!” Both head coaches love having Jodi as a resource for their athletes.

Overall, Athletic trainers help many athletes by getting them back into the game or on the field as fast as they can. Without them, athletes may not be able to afford the care that they need or have the resources to recover properly.