Sophomore guard Kevin Ware’s leg injury was something no one who saw it will ever forget.
People who witnessed it on television had chills down their spines.
The Louisville Cardinals bench and fans who saw it in person will replay the compound fracture over and over in their heads for the rest of their lives.
The game of basketball is not a frightening sport, but it sure felt like it after this weekend’s game.
The support Ware received after his incident was incredible with former athletes such as Joe Theismann, who suffered a similar career-ending injury, giving him support while he recovers.
The injuries are devastating; however, it is the behind-the-scenes stories nobody ever hears about that can help prevent such injuries or help in recovery.
I am talking about the little noticed work of athletic trainers throughout the NCAA who do not receive enough credit for their assistance in keeping student-athletes healthy.
I worked for the Louisiana Tech University Sports Medicine staff for two football seasons and realized firsthand how much time and effort it takes to keep athletes safe.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of an athletic trainer in 2010 was $41,600.
These underpaid heroes of the field barely receive enough income to watch for their own safety.
They work tirelessly throughout the collegiate athletic season to protect our student-athletes and you never hear anything about them.
Their days start off at 6 a.m. promptly giving treatments to the players throughout the morning.
In the afternoon, they prepare for practice or games, setting up the field and working during the games to keep the players safe.
After practice and games are over, players come back for treatment, and players injured during the day receive diagnosis and treatment.
Depending on the schedule, the trainers may not even get weekends off because they are on the road with the team, sometimes even missing holidays.
I suppose the opportunity to pay the trainers for information about injured players has always been available. The fact the underpaid and sometimes volunteer trainers do not release the information is a testament to how loyal they are to their job.
Ware’s compound fracture is not the first incident in which a young man was severely injured this athletic season. University of South Carolina junior halfback Marcus Lattimore tore his anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament playing against the Tennessee Volunteers, with video replays showing how horrific the injury was.
At the expense of players like Ware and Lattimore, athletic trainers are finally getting the credit they deserve.
They are not just glorified water boys; they are the first line to saving someone’s life on the playing field.
Every season we hear the heartfelt story about an athlete getting injured, potentially ending his career.
If it were not for the work of trainers, some of these players would never play again. I’m sure the players are thankful for all the work they do, too.
For all you know, you may be on the streets and need medical attention and the only one there capable of helping you will be an athletic trainer.
Derek J. Amaya is a junior journalism and marketing major from Metairie. Email comments to dja...@latech.edu.