By Justin Curto

Sophomore Miranda Toland spends time after school assisting athletic trainer

Toland spends her after-school hours in the training room helping athletes

December 10, 2015

Standing in the Mill Valley training room on Thursday, Dec. 3, sophomore Miranda Toland holds a medicine ball. "[As a student trainer] I get a lot of experience for when I go off to college so it's not like I'm starting completely blind," Toland says.
By Abigail Archibong
Standing in the training room on Thursday, Dec. 3, sophomore Miranda Toland holds a medicine ball. “[As a student trainer], I get a lot of experience for when I go off to college, so it’s not like I’m starting completely blind,” Toland said.

As the bell signaling the end of the school day rings, sophomore Miranda Toland prepares to spend her day after school helping athletic trainer Clint McAlister attend to injured athletes.

As a student trainer, Toland is required to help McAlister for at least eight hours a week, but may come in as she pleases.

“[Sometimes I help] Clint until 8:30 p.m., and it just depends,” Toland said. “When there’s weeks that we have to work games, I won’t come in as much during the week … but you can come in any day you want.”

Even though being a student trainer has occupied a lot of Toland’s time, she says it’s worth it.

“My schedule has definitely, definitely, definitely gotten a lot busier,” Toland said. “[Sometimes I’m] up till midnight doing homework, and I’m not used to that, but I actually prefer being busy so it’s been working out for the better.”

Toland approached McAlister at the end of her freshman year to learn how to become a student trainer.

“I came in there for track for having shin splints and I saw a student in there and he was the one who was actually wrapping my shins,” Toland said. “I was like, ‘How do you do this?’ and he told me that he was a trainer, and I really wanted to do that because I was really interested in athletic training.”

Becoming a student trainer prepares students who want to pursue a career in athletic training, according to McAlister.

“The main goal … is to get them some experience in the health field so they can learn early on whether or not it is something that they’re interested in,” McAlister said. “If they are interested in it, then they can have some hours of experience that will make them more marketable to get them into more competitive programs.”

With aspirations to become an athletic trainer, Toland also agrees working with McAlister will make her more marketable to colleges.

“If I am as good as Clint wants me to be, then he can write me a letter of recommendation,” Toland said. “He has connections to KU, so that’s going to help. Basically, just the more experience I get, the better the opportunities I’m going to get.”

While being a student trainer helps Toland develop the skills necessary to become an athletic trainer, it has also helped her meet more students around the school.

“I’ve always loved interacting with people, and I think I’m a good people person,” Toland said. “I’ve met so many people doing this because a lot of different athletes come in.”

Assisting McAlister has also helped Toland in her own life as an athlete.

“I definitely know that if something is hurting I will know what to do. I know so many stretches that I can do now so it’ll definitely help prevent injuries,” Toland said. “I run track, and if people have questions, like on the track team, they can ask me about that stuff too.”

Although being a student trainer means meeting fellow students and prevention for Toland’s own injuries, Clint sees passing on his athletic know-how as the most important aspect of student training.

“I enjoy sharing knowledge of what I do, especially if they’re passionate about it. It’s fun to share those things and see them start to grasp concepts and start to do some of these things on there own,” McAlister said. “Hopefully by doing this they learn that didactic knowledge that they need, things that they can take and apply instantly regardless of what field they go in.”

Toland said her passion for student training has given her the opportunity to learn about and pursue a career in athletic training, and hopes to assist McAlister until she graduates high school.

“This has definitely helped me develop people skills and just [learn how to] interact with people and it just gives me a ton of experience that I wouldn’t get if I didn’t do this,” Toland said. “I just love doing it. It’s so much fun. I plan on doing it till my senior year.”

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