Getting the Tigers healthyRicky Valencia is enjoying working with athletes in his first year as a trainer at Farmington High School.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
Hometown: Swanville, Minn.
College: Saint Cloud State University
Family: Parents: Ernesto and Randi Valencia. Siblings: Mari, Rita, Juan, David and Eric. Eleven nieces and nephews.
Years at Farmington: First
What’s your favorite part of being an athletic trainer?
Assisting the athlete with injury care and prevention to ultimately allow them to compete at their highest potential.
At the high school level, athletic trainers are exposed to many different sports. Certain injuries are more prevalent in each of those sports, so variation keeps it most interesting.
Are there any parts of the job you don’t enjoy?
Full-day tournaments on the weekend.
Besides tending to injured athletes during games, what other duties does your job entail?
Off the field is probably when I am generally the most busy. In the athletic training room is where most of the work is done. This is generally where all care and prevention of injuries that athletes have sustained during competitions, practices or just kids-being-kids outside of school takes place. With the school having great facilities, the kids can utilize much of the same equipment or sometimes more than one could in a physical therapy clinic.
What is your step-by-step procedure when approaching an injured athlete?
All injuries are different in some way and reactions from athletes vary greatly as well. The first step would be to determine the severity and from there it will vary greatly between the type of injury. Another extremely important part of the evaluation is to never overlook and assuming it is, for example, “just an ankle sprain.”
How often do you work sporting events? Are you typically the only trainer on site or are there a few?
I cover all home games as well as travel with the football team. Double and triple coverage is provided as needed. Which is mostly the case when basketball, hockey, gymnastics and wrestling are in season.
What injuries do you encounter the most?
For the most part it is strains, sprains, and overuse injuries.
What can athletes do to prevent some of the most common injuries?
Stretch, strength train and most of all know their bodies.
What is the worst injury you’ve encountered?
Most athletic trainers deal with dislocations, fractures, ligament ruptures, meniscal tears, etc. I feel anything to do with the head and spine are generally the worst and fortunately I haven't had to deal with a very serious one yet.
Are there any changes you would like to see to make high school sports safer?
No. I think plenty of rules are in place. More so, the athletes playing the sport provoke injuries that could be prevented with better sportsmanship and coaching.
What’s your favorite part of working at Farmington?
The kids show a lot of respect and appreciation for what I do, and the staff has been great as well, so that’s always good! Oh, the many different personalities and ideas kids come up with is usually quite interesting.