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Athletic trainer provides support for athletes

Loka Murphy helps student athletes with health, fitness and rehabilitation

Alison Aiken, Staff Reporter
Originally published December 18, 2015


It’s very common for athletes to get injured when they compete in sports, so the school has Loka Murphy, an athletic trainer,who tends to those players. He helps students in many different ways when it comes to athletic training and health. All of the athletes at school keep Murphy constantly busy with evaluations and treating injuries.

“My job has me providing emergency medical care, evaluating injuries, treating and rehabilitating injuries as well as preventing injuries when possible,” Murphy said. Athletic trainers are educated in many different areas, so Murphy has been able to assist athletes a variety of ways.

He works 35 hours a week, and receives support from administration and many parents.

Murphy generally works with the in season athletes, though he also continues to work with and support athletes during their offseason. He has also helped coaches, parents, teachers and non-student players in the past.

“My role is to provide support to the athletes,” Murphy said. “We talk about things that are sore or that are hurting, figure out a plan of attack for resolving that issue and then determine if what we are doing is helping.” Sometimes the solution is for the athlete to rest, and other times it can be to do rehabilitation exercises.

“My job is pretty cool because I get to go behind the scenes, get sideline passes and develop relationships with the participants,” Murphy said. “It is a good feeling when you are able to help someone and get them back to doing what they enjoy.”

Ballard had a sports medicine program for two and a half years, during which Murphy was able to teach students about being an athletic trainer. “I was able to give BHS students all kinds of information on various careers in the medical field, bring in guest speakers, set up job shadows, go on field trips and learn about nutrition, anatomy, medical terminology, training in first aid/CPR, HIV/Aids, injuries and care and taping,” Murphy said.

Since then, a few students have decided to take on Murphy as a teacher and shadow him in his training room after school each week.

They do things like tape players, show athletes how to roll out different body parts, perform rehab exercises and demonstrate stretches. “I have had several students that have had interest in athletic training or sports medicine shadow me and a few have gone on to pursue careers in the medical field,” Murphy said.

Murphy provides important support daily, and makes it easy for students to talk to a trainer before or after practices during the school year.

One student that praises Murphy for all of his help and reliability is junior Sammy Blue, who participates in Track and Cross Country. “Loka has helped me with plenty of injuries. When I sprained my ankle he made sure it healed correctly,” Blue said. “He is always willing to massage or roll out my calves when they’re tight, and he helps me with my hips almost every day.”

Having a athletic trainer at Ballard has been very impactful for student athletes. It makes a big difference in athletic performance for players to have someone around every day to treat their injuries and help them prepare for games and competitions. “Loka makes sure that everyone feels okay and has a great season, and everyone appreciates everything he does for us,” Blue said.

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Athletic trainer provides support for athletes