In his work at the Bradwell Institute athletic training field since the mid-1990s, athletic trainer John Murat successfully has dealt with thousands of injuries.
He has experience with everything from torn ACLs to more common cramping suffered by players at practices and in games.
“The role of a trainer has certainly evolved over the years,” Murat said. “It’s not just about taping up players and making sure they have enough water during practice.”
Though providing water and ensuring hydration are extremely important to a sport that begins during extreme heat, that is only a small percentage of a trainer’s duties.
Murat, who serves as full-time athletic trainer for the Liberty County School System, has a busy day from the moment he gets to office in the Bradwell gym until he goes to the football field to get ready for practice in the afternoon.
Murat starts his day by entering injuries into a database and arranging schedules for rehabilitation of injured athletes.
“I spend most mornings answering phone calls and emails about injured athletes,” Murat said. “I also have a variety of legal paperwork, such as heat warnings and insurance verification, that must be completed and filed with the state.”
Trainers also must file an emergency action plan, which details the steps that trainers and coaches must follow in case of an emergency. The key thing is to be ready for the unexpected, Murat said.
“Concussions have been a major concern in football at all levels in the past few years. We make sure we recognize the symptoms and also establish a timeline for return to action for the player,” Murat said.
Murat also has several student trainers who help him during daily practices and Friday night games.
Those student trainers include Tori Browning, Jameelah Shabazz, Eillian Bulnes, Tyjanna Johnson, Alexi Boatwright, JoAnna Gonzalez and Tanisha Flowers.
“Since I have been here for quite a few years and coaches trust me more and more — which helps all parties concerned with injuries — trust has created a strong working relationship allowing injured players to return when they are ready,” Murat said.