Athletic Director Bob Rogers is looking for an athletic trainer — and he is not alone. There are eight schools south of Boston that don’t have a trainer, he said.
Help, however, might be close at hand.
Rogers told the School Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 14 that the district’s trainer told him at athletics first night she and her boyfriend were relocating to California.
Since that time, and even all summer, Signature Healthcare was advertising while Rogers was not, because he thought they were “good to go.”
“As soon as I found out, I contacted every single college in the state of Massachusetts,” Rogers said, noting he contacted each trainer, and a lot of colleges have as many as five. “I sent out over 100 emails I have it on SchoolSpring, I have it on the MIAA site, I’ve been networking all over the place, and we have not been able to find anyone.”
All that networking did produce a highly qualified candidate who has her masters, and passed the program, but still has to take the test in October, with results due back in November.
“My hope is that she could become our trainer for the winter season,” Rogers said. “She has already interviewed with Signature, they like her, they tested her credentials and they feel confident with her.”
Another contributing factor to the current crunch is that the state and national board have changed the rules for credentials, now requiring a master’s degree. Rogers has also contacted the state about a waiver for those rules for the short term and have been working with an EMT to staff athletic events — she is also a W-H graduate, a former Hanson call firefighter and Air Force veteran as well as being at the end of her athletic training program.
“I feel very confident having her, but there are some limitations on what she’s allowed to do, legally,” Rogers said. “We’re doing what we can with that.”
He has also contracted with Peak Therapy, which has worked out very well. A physical therapist comes to the school three days a week when a local doctor — and another local person, Dr. Joel White — comes in three days a week to help students with rehabilitation.
With Signature not subsidizing the school, for the service at the moment, it is the responsibility of W-H, and Rogers has been working to raise funds, including selling Peak Therapy the last $5,000 ad spot on the scoreboard.
“Funding might end up being a problem because Signature has always helped us with funding,” Rogers said. “We don’t budget for an athletic trainer.”
He said the superintendent, principal and School Committee may have to decide moving forward as the crunch continues and affects the financial sponsorship arrangement.
Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Szymaniak said a $5,000 signing bonus being offered by Signature caused some confusion in the community.
“That wasn’t us,” Szymaniak said. “We have a contract with Signature who, as a private company, was putting an incentive out there. … And still nobody bit.”