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School athletic trainers recognized during month of March

KGNS got to speak with more LISD and UISD athletic trainers and they say this year the pandemic has made it a lot harder, but they love helping athletes do what they love the most.
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 10:09 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - The month of March recognizes athletic trainers who take care of athletes on and off the field, court, track, and pool.

But this year, their role has changed.

KGNS got to speak with more LISD and UISD athletic trainers and they say this year the pandemic has made it a lot harder, but they love helping athletes do what they love the most.

’'It feels great, especially at times, two to ten years later down the road after they graduate, they say, ‘I remember you! Do you remember me?’”

That is one of the many reasons Michael Rodriguez, also known as “Doc” from Martin High School has spent 33 years being an athletic trainer in Laredo.

He was the first licensed athletic trainer in the city.

Doc says he has probably helped over 1,000 kids with his time at Martin, but he has also helped other LISD and UISD schools whenever they need extra help.

“Every now and then when he couldn’t be there, I was the one to take care to it.”

It’s during this time that all athletic trainers in the city are working and trying their best to keep athletes and their families healthy.

“Theres always great camaraderie and great communication between athletic trainers, but I think you’re right, I think this year more so, you know, from the... early onset of last year in March from when we shut everything down,” said Mario Saldivar.

Mario Saldivar who has also been a trainer for over 20 years says he knew the job he loves would consist of long hours, but he never expected the pandemic and having to check temperatures and be COVID testing athletes as much as he does.

For Nixon’s athletic trainer, Ariana Rodriguez would never have expected to be helping with vaccine drives or checking up on her athletes through Zoom.

“To rule out a certain injury we have to get hands-on with that patient, so that’s been kind of the difficult part, of having to diagnose something without you actually touching it, or physically seeing it and having the right angle from the camera.”

These trainers say the long hours and weeks will all pay off in the end, especially knowing the athletes have some normalcy in their life after this hard year.

These trainers say they hope and look forward to brighter days where COVID-19 isn’t cause of concern, so they can focus on the athletes other needs to lead to their success.

Both UISD and LISD have two athletic trainers for each high school who cover each sport.

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