New athletic trainer joining staff

Maverick King / Staff Writer /

The athletic trainer’s office in Tarrant Athletic Center. Photo by Maverick King.

Cassie Bushey, currently in her fourth year as a member of St. Michael College’s athletic training staff, saw two of her colleagues leave for other opportunities this Fall. Suddenly, the training staff was cut in half.

The staff was reduced to two members, a decision that Chris Kenny, director of Athletics, said he did not make by choice. “Two of our valued members of the athletic training staff left for other opportunities at the end of August. We plan to restore our sports medicine staff to four as soon as we can,” Kenny said.

Kenny said that Alex Simon, the current athletic trainer at Bryant University, will join the staff on Dec. 11.

“[This year] has been very challenging, to say the least,” Kenny said. “First and foremost, through the superhuman efforts of Athletic Trainers Cassie Bushey and Aislinn O’Connor – they have been tremendous throughout this semester, working long hours to provide necessary services.”

Bushey said that though covering every varsity team on campus is a challenge, she and her current colleague Aislinn O’Connor have improved their communication.

“Obviously we would much rather have more people than the current situation, but when you have to find positives it’s the fact that we work together more than we ever did before,” Bushey said.

Noelle Messick ’24, captain on the women’s soccer team, recognized the setbacks of a small training staff.

“Cassie and Ais did a great job with accommodating our needs this season, however with only two trainers it was inevitably harder to get the attention and care as in previous years,” Messick said.

Claire Williams ’24, another captain on the women’s soccer team, also felt there were not enough trainers for the amount of teams. “We missed having someone at our practices and games, and it was stressful specifically when we had injuries during practices and all we had was a medical kit with us,” Williams said.

Bushey said the volume of work was the biggest challenge of the semester. “Before, we were more responsible directly for [specific] teams, whereas now there’s less contact with whole teams, and overall we’re in the office much more, taking care of every athlete,” Bushey said.

Kenny said he looks forward to Simon joining the training staff. “He will be a tremendous addition to our team with Ais and Cassie; Increasing the staffing means the sharing of the workload is eased a bit,” Kenny said.

Bushey said that Simon is currently an athletic trainer at Bryant University, a private Division One school in Smithfield, Rhode Island. “We are very excited to have Alex join us. He is very excited to work in a collaborative atmosphere as a team. Having another set of hands, and somebody else to cover appointments will be huge, so [student-athletes] can be seen every day,” Bushey said.

Kenny mentioned this a challenging time for college athletics, and that there is an athletic trainer shortage nationwide. “We have relied on local clinics and professionals to help staff practices, games, and therapies,” Kenny said. “We have had to limit athletic trainer travel with teams, coordinating services with opposing colleges to ensure proper coverage for our teams on the road and doing the same for them when their teams travel here.”

Bushey mentioned the fact that Simon’s experience was not a traditional Division One experience, where typically athletic trainers are covering one specific team per semester. He is used to working in a small community, similar to St. Michael’s College.