For 15 years, Carmen Smith has shared her dedication to young athletes as an athletic training lead for Parkview Sports Medicine.
“Growing up, I wanted to play sports, watch sports, that was my life 24/7,” Carmen said. “When I was in high school, I played a lot of sports and saw plenty of injuries and what happens through the recovery process and athletic trainers are key in that. As I got older, I realized how much I love the human body and knowing how it works, and the combination of those two things led me to athletic training.”
Carmen prides herself on creating a safe space for the student athletes she supports. “The best part of my job is knowing I have an impact and some influence in these kids’ lives every day,” she said, which includes, “seeing them come in right after school and show their personality and be as loud and obnoxious as they want. It’s fantastic.”
As a steady presence in schools and on athletic fields and courts, Parkview’s athletic trainers often help others, aside from just the athletes. “Athletic trainers have the unique ability to be part of the community,” Carmen explained. “We get to see all of the children, but we also get to help parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, administrators, officials and spectators.
“Sometimes, athletic trainers are the only healthcare professional people have access to. Knowing we’re deep in the community shows Parkview cares about everyone.”
“To someone who wants to be an athletic trainer, I would remind them that sports are dangerous, injuries are going to happen, and they can be heartbreaking,” Carmen said. “But knowing we’re there from the moment they get injuried, through the highs and lows of the recovery process, and then there for when they give you a big hug, smile or high five when they get to play the sport they love again. It’s definitely rewarding!”
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