MT. VERNON —
Odds are if you're a sports fan and have attended a Mt. Vernon event over the last half decade, Kerry Hammond has been there too.
Spectators might not have noticed her, but she's been a constant presence on the sidelines, bench or in the dugout during the hundreds of competition that play out during the course of a school year.
Hammond is entering her sixth year as the athletic trainer for Mt. Vernon Township High School. She is also the director of sports medicine at the Orthopedic Center of Southern Illinois. The yearly sports cycle has already started with summer activities, but Monday marked Hammond continuing her own sports season routine.
She met with coaches, making sure each had her contact information and briefed the group on policy changes from the previous season. She will also talk with each sports team prior to the season, explaining her role and who she is.
She has five years of experience at the high school and added that getting to know the athletes personally helps break down some of the barriers, especially when it comes to an athlete who may think they are invincible or that consulting a trainer is a sign of weakness.
“I'm having brothers and sisters of the kids that I had four, five years ago,” Hammond said. “That is fantastic because I know the families. I have known those kids ever since they were in seventh or eighth grade. I'm not quite as much of a stranger to those kids.”
One of the key aspects of Hammond's job includes knowing a particular athletes' pain threshold.
“I often say, 'I will find out if your are injured, or if you just have a boo-boo,” Hammond said.
That threshold can be different for all athletes and doesn't matter what sport they play.