Sunday Sit Down: Lincoln Football Athletic Trainer Mackenzie Hawkins
Hawkins is responsible for the treatment, rehabilitation, evaluation and prevention of injuries
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Mackenzie Hawkins joins this week’s sit down to talk about being the athletic trainer for Lincoln football, a resource many schools in the area don’t have the same access to.
Hawkins job includes being responsible for the treatment, rehabilitation, evaluation and prevention of injuries for the Cougars’ football players, but her connection to the players and love of her job stretches far beyond that, “Getting to spend everyday with them, the boys, they’re always so fun to be around, and they have welcomes me and basically I’ve become their big sister, I feel like that’s kind of how they look at me and sometimes they come with problems outside of injuries, or outside of football and it feels good to be able to help them in any way they need,” said Hawkins.
Gaining trust of the athletes and parents has been huge for Hawkins, “I feel like Harrison County especially of people don’t know what athletic trainers do, they think we’re water girls, and that’s about it and mostly on Friday nights that’s what you’ll see me do unless I have to run out and help somebody but yeah I did gain a little bit of trust and people to understand the knowledge base I have and the education that I got to do more than just to give water or tape ankles.”
Having that trust allowed Hawkins and the team to be more efficient from the start this summer, “When we came back, we hit the ground running and the boys knew the systems kind of we have in place, and my respect towards them and their respect towards me and hopefully that trust continues to build for years to come and I’ll always be here with them.”
Hawkins touches on the importance of sitting out a player after an injury occurs, even if they want to go back in right away, especially with an expected concussion, “Sitting out an athlete or even having to tell an athlete that their injured is obviously the worst part of the job, I want them to play and be as successful as anyone out there and, but in the grand scheme of things, its one game or its one quarter left, versus the rest of their life and that’s kind of how I put it into perspective.”
She also gave some advice to players struggling with the mental aspect of an injury, “Usually just try to reassure them that this is not the end of the world and this is not the worst thing that’s ever gonna happen to them, and I know it’s really hard to see beyond that but hopefully the next day that they can have a different mindset and I always try to get them to start the healing process, start the treatment process as quickly process so they can see the progress that they’re making, which makes the injured time more bearable.”
Having Hawkins there everyday has been a huge benefit for the Lincoln program, “I am here everyday, the same time the boys are, and so they can get treatment everyday, or we can start rehabbing their injuries everyday, we can start taping them everyday and it’s, it just makes the injury process and healing and getting them back on the field quicker.”
With the level of athletics in and around Harrison County, Hawkins has high hopes for seeing more athletic trainers in the coming years, “My hope is that every school would at one time have an athletic trainer, I mean Lincoln football has got to be the luckiest sport in the county I hate to say it but that should be the standard across every sport in every school in Harrison County I feel like our caliber of athletics just in this area is on course with the rest of the state, at the top of the rest of the state and we’re at such a disadvantage so hopefully in within the next year, coming years, that this can be the standard across the board.”
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