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Though she’s been fortunate enough to not have many serious injuries during her time as an athletic trainer, NS’s Jamie Withers has witnessed some gruesome injuries.
Though that may bother some people, Withers couldn’t care less. For her, taking the wet sock off of the smelly feet that come out of a lucky player’s cleat or gym shoe is what grosses her out the most.
“Sometimes it’s bad enough that that sticks out more than the injury,” said Withers.
While this isn’t a fun thing to have to do, Withers still loves her work. Withers also loves to ride her horses. In all of her time riding horses, she has done barrels, poles, 4H, showmanship, all the western and English events and many speed events. Now she rides on the mountain and ropes off her horses. But she doesn’t get to ride as much as she would like, as she spends a lot of nontraditional time working.
Withers’s day-to-day work life is not a typical schedule; she teaches, then balances running her kids to their various activities and getting the student athletes ready for their games and practices, then picking up her kids and hanging out at the different sporting events. While she has helped hundreds of student athletes, she hasn’t had to treat many serious injuries. But the neck and brain injury in the Union game left a mark.
In this particular incident, she had to do a spine board with a head and neck injury. Withers has only had to do this one other time with a cheerleader who was practicing stunts before a game.
This type of injury is very serious as you can’t see what is happening inside of the head. So when this happens all Withers has to go on is what happened, what the player is describing or not describing, if they are coherent, and their level of consciousness. So Withers has to be very knowledgeable about what to look for to be able to correctly treat the particular injury of the athlete.
Withers attended two colleges before attending the University of Utah and applying to their athletic training program. During this three year program is where Withers gained all of her knowledge and experience. That training has not only helped her take care of injured student athletes, it’s also helped her to be able to teach others. The four classes that Withers teaches at NS are Hawk Fit, Intro to Physical Therapy, Sports Medicine, and Medical Terminology.
Senior Gage Cox is one of the students who has taken all of the classes that Withers teaches.
“[Taking her classes] has helped me a ton, especially with the Human Biology class that I took from Snow,” said Cox. “A lot of the stuff that he was teaching, Jamie had already taught me prior, and it’s been pretty much ingrained into my head so that’s been super nice.”
But the material that Withers taught Cox has also helped him in more than just a college class.
“Even in everyday life, the stuff she has taught me has come into play quite a bit,” said Cox. “Not even just with myself, but with others that I notice.”
While Cox has been able to use the information that he gained from taking Withers classes and enjoyed taking her classes, for Withers it was from her high school sports medicine teacher by the name of Patrick Barnes, that she got the idea of being an athletic trainer.
“He was awesome, and I just really liked the class and the group of us that was in there had a good relationship with him as well,” said Withers. “We would go to games and he would chat with us or allow us to come onto the sidelines and I think that’s where it began.”
Barnes would show up many years later, multiple times, whenever Withers moved colleges or had to make a big decision in her future. He would offer to help Withers with whatever she needed, to be able to take that next step in her education.
Withers had a great relationship with Barnes throughout these years especially when she was his student. Now as Withers is a teacher and athletic trainer at NS she also has strong relationships with her students and the athletes that she treats.
“She will pretty much do anything for anyone and she doesn’t really give anyone special treatment,” said Cox. “Anybody who knows her and talks to her is pretty much best friends with her. She is super easy going and super easy to talk to. She genuinely cares about people.”