Athletic trainers come together in new role


There are many fierce rivalries in the area.

And everyone involved with those schools feels the pride that comes when their team wins.

However, for a select few, their new mission is to put the rivalries aside, and work together in a time of need.

Maine-Endwell….Vestal….one of the biggest and fiercest rivalries in all of Section IV.

The Spartans and Golden Bears have played countless classics in all sports.

As the athletes and coaches take care of things on the field, behind the scenes, that’s where the athletic trainers go to work.

That includes M-E’s Deb Iwanow and Vestal’s Joel Garrison.

Both Deb and Joel provide their services courtesy of Lourdes for their respective schools.

While they both know how heated the rivalry gets for those playing, the two AT’s can have some fun of their own in the background.

“It just keeps things fun. It keeps things interesting. Obviously, we want everyone to do their best. We want all the athletes to be successful. But, it helps that we’re at different schools, and we can go back-and-forth a bit behind the scenes,” Iwanow says.

Despite working at dueling schools, both feel for the student-athletes who no longer have the opportunity to continue playing their respective sport, and offered a bit of advice on how to deal with their current situation.

“Work hard at what is coming up in life. This doesn’t determine who you are as a person. But, instead, look at the opportunity you have to help others in a time of crisis,” said Garrison.

Even Deb and Joel’s current situations have changed.

With all schools shut down for an unknown amount of time, both have been re-assigned to help Lourdes open an emergency daycare center for health care workers’ children.

So, the two will put aside their school’s rivalry, and join forces to ensure that they’re doing their part in a time of crisis.

“Us, as athletic trainers, at our individual schools, function very independently. So, the biggest difference, I think, is going to be we’re all going to be in the same place, at the same time, on a regular basis. And, to be honest with you, I think it’s been pretty comforting for us over the past couple of days. Having something to focus on, trying to get things set up, and actually having interaction in that process.”

And I think Garrison may have summed it up best, for not just the schools, but for everyone right now.

“Both schools teach their athletes to rise to the occasion. And this would be one of those occasions where each school, the character of their athletes will shine through.”

Come Monday, I too will be in a different situation as for the time being, I’ll be helping news out.

So, please continue to watch NewsChannel 34, and let’s hope we’ll all be back in our sports roles real soon.

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