By Emily Lightfield
Whether it’s out by the football field, front and center to the basketball games, and on the sideline at volleyball matches, Hannah Gross watches intently. When something goes wrong, she jumps into action.
Gross is the athletic trainer for Lincoln High School. She can be located at Lincoln’s sporting events either helping with a student or watching out for injuries during the game.
“Hannah has helped me through a variety of injuries throughout my high school career … She always takes on the injury with a positive attitude, asks questions pertaining to the injury, analyzes, then provides possible outcomes and alternatives to help her students,” said Mallory Burns, a Lincoln volleyball player.
Gross is employed through Reid Health’s Community Outreach and has worked at Lincoln High School for six years.
“I’m in charge of all pregame treatment, clinical evaluations, emergency care, tape-ups and the rehabilitation of athletes,” she said.
An athletic trainer is a healthcare professional who works in the field of sports medicine. Athletic trainers help athletes prevent and recover from sport-related injuries. In many cases, athletic trainers provide immediate care and are able to diagnose athletes. Athletic trainers can work in various work environments such as high schools, colleges, sports medicine clinics and sport teams.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, it is projected that employment for athletic trainers will grow faster than other healthcare practitioners or technical occupations. The handbook projects about 2,500 openings for athletic trainers each year over the coming decade.
Gross said her interest in becoming an athletic trainer started with her love of sports and how she wanted to go into a field in healthcare.
“My goal is to educate people what the training is and what you can offer as well to see every injured kid play and meet their goals,” she said.
Becoming a high school athletic trainer requires a minimum of a master’s degree in athletic training or exercise science.
When asked if the schooling was worth it, Gross replied, “Yes, it’s an understated profession that’s extremely unique, that requires a lot of dedication with weird hours, not set schedule, but allows you to build relationships throughout the years. Kids come in for not-sport-related issues.”
Kelsey Stevens, a Lincoln volleyball player, wrote, “Hannah has helped me so much through sports and life. I have had several injuries, including rolled ankles and a hip injury. During these injuries she has given me so many good rehab exercises, and she has done a lot of treatment to help fix and prevent these injuries.”
Gross spends time working to make sure that she is prepared for an injury. “What a lot of people don’t know is that a lot of the work is done an hour or day before the game,” she said.
Lincoln’s athletic director, Rob Bills, wrote, “At all high school events we recognize Hannah via a public address announcement. We have also used other media to acknowledge and recognize our trainers from Reid Health. Additionally, Hannah is incorporated into every sport as a team member and included into many team functions.”
Her office is located in the weight room by the greenhouse.
Gross said, “My office has become an open door and safe space for athletes.”
According to Stevens, Gross has become more than just an athletic trainer. Stevens wrote: “Not only is she a good athletic trainer but she is an amazing friend. She is always up for a good talk, and she makes sure everyone is mentally and physically okay.”
Lincoln girls basketball player Grace Sherwood said, “If I were to recommend anyone to other athletes, it would be Hannah. She is always willing to jump in and help with anyone. Not only is she good at what she does, but she is also always welcoming with open arms and a smile on her face. I couldn’t imagine my high school career without having Hannah by my side 100% of the time.”
According to Gross, the worst part about her job is sharing the news when athletes, especially seniors, can’t play for the rest of the season.
Gavin Trent, a high school football player, wrote, “She is also a great person to just talk with. Usually, if we have some time before practices, we go down to her office and hang out. She always welcomes us and our hectic pre-practice conversations. I am very glad she has been our trainer for the four years I have been here in the high school … In my opinion, every school needs a Hannah.”