A Q&A with Lexie Watkins.
The Express caught up with Watkins, who has been at the school since 2013, to find out a little bit about her past and find out why she is where she is today.
Q: So, can you tell me a little bit about your background?
A: “I’m from Coloma, a small town in Michigan. I went to Albion College in Albion, Michigan for my undergrad (athletic training and PE double major, 2004). I went to Brown University in Providence, R.I., for my master’s in public health (in 2010). After Brown, I worked for a couple of years doing research at Boston Children’s Hospital, which is why I ended up staying in this area.”
Q:When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be an athletic trainer and why?
A:“I went to college thinking I would go on to medical school, and I stumbled into athletic training the second semester of my freshman year. I took an introduction to athletic training class and loved it. I was a three-sport athlete in high school and played softball in college, so I really enjoy being around athletics, and athletic training seemed to give me a great mix of athletics and medicine. Plus, I love working with the high school age group and being involved at the high school setting.”
Q: In addition to being an athletic trainer at WHRHS, are you a trainer elsewhere?
A: “I’m not currently an athletic trainer anywhere else. I do work some per diem for tournaments and camps throughout the year, but otherwise I’m mostly only at Whitman-Hanson.”
Q: Did you have training experience elsewhere prior to your arrival at WHRHS in 2013?
A: “I worked for Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville and covered Bunker Hill Community College athletics and semi-professional football for two years. I’ve also worked for Attleboro High School, Brown University and Curry College as a per-diem athletic trainer and Grosse Pointe South High School (Michigan). As a per-diem athletic trainer, I’ve covered Boston College men’s club ice hockey, Tufts University men’s club ice hockey, semi-professional rugby and college rugby.”
Q: What brought you to WHRHS?
A: “I enjoy being at the high school level, and Somerville was quite the commute as I live on the South Shore.”
Q: What do you like most about your position at WHRHS? How are the athletes?
A: “I most enjoy working with the student-athletes. It’s fun to get to know them outside of class, and be there for some of their most successful moments on the field/court. Though I’m also there for some of their worst moments, in the case of major injuries, it’s rewarding to have an athlete trust you enough to let you look at them when they are in pain. I have also enjoyed working with the coaches here. They have all been respectful of my position, which makes it easy to discuss athletics with them. I also enjoy that every day is different and challenging; I never know what is going to happen that day.”
Q: Has your athletic trainer position changed, if at all, at all over the years?
A: “There is more paperwork associated with concussions than when I started working as an athletic trainer; the state of Massachusetts mandates reporting of concussions, so each one is documented on a special form, and each athlete with a concussion must do a return-to-play program, which is documented as well. The guidelines for caring for and diagnosing concussions have changed since I began working as an athletic trainer, we are much more conservative now than we were in 2005.
“As an athletic trainer, I have to stay up to date with the latest research and therapies, and a lot has changed in that arena since I started. For example, kinesiotape and Graston didn’t exist when I first started working. Bracing and padding has also improved – better materials to construct pads on the fly, and athletes can now buy a lot of additional braces and pads.”
Q: Can you tell me a little about the class you teach at the high school?
A: “The class is sports medicine. I taught it for the first time last fall, and it was created as a complimentary class to anatomy and physiology, which is taught in the science department. Sports medicine expands upon what is learned about the skeletal and muscular systems in anatomy and physiology, and also teaches the students about medical terminology, injury evaluation and documentation. The class is great for anyone interested in a medical career, not just sports medicine, and prepares the students for certification in CPR as well. So far I’ve gotten great feedback from the students that have taken it.”
Q: What’s a normal day like for you?
A: “I am considered a part-time teacher, part-time athletic trainer. I generally teach the last two or three classes of the day (depending on the rotation that day) and stay until games are finished in the evening.”
Q: What else do you do at WHRHS?
A: “I am also a clinical instructor for Bridgewater State University, and I frequently take on a student to be here at WHRHS with me.”