Training program at Carson offers ... Big league experience

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Frank Sakelarios has spent much of his adult life teaching about and treating athletic injuries at various high school campuses around Northern Nevada.

As Carson's athletic trainer, he's been a fixture at Carson High athletic events since 2002, and he's passing on his knowledge to CHS students in his beginning and advanced athletic training classes.

The athletic training classes are part of Carson High's Health Occupations Program of Study. Besides athletic training, other career options include medical assistant, occupational therapist, radiologist, emergency medical careers, mental health technician, nursing, massage therapist, medical records technician, medical transcription, medical laboratory careers and pharmacy careers.

Sakelarios started the beginning athletic training class in 2003 with the support of formal principal Glen Adair.

"He thought it would be a good fit," Sakelarios said.

The class ran for three years, and then was eliminated. After a one-year hiatus, the beginning class started again in the 2007-2008 school year, and an advanced class was started in 2009 thanks to a grant written by Michelle Lewis, one of Carson's deans.

"The grant allowed the school to get money to allow me to teach an extra class," Sakelarios. "In the beginning class, students learn what a trainer does, learn basic anatomy and vocabulary. They learn how to tape from the bottom of the body and work their way up.

"The advanced class is after school. The students help me treat players and tape ankles. Being an athletic trainer, you always need help and the students are a blessing, If it were just me, I'd be in there for three hours a day taping. I'm able to do a lot more because the students are helping. It's a great opportunity for the kids that want to help."

And when the 2012-2013 school year rolls around, students can take two of the HOPOS classes to satisfy their graduation requirements.

More fun? Possibly says Sakelarios.

"I think you're going to see a lot more of this happening," Sakelarios said. "I don't think it's for everybody, though."

Sakelarios teaches two beginning classes with approximately 45 students combined. He figures to have eight in his advanced class next year.

Students get to learn in a great environment. The training room at Carson is bigger than any high school training center in Northern Nevada, according to Sakelarios, who has worked at both Reed and Bishop Manogue after graduating from the University of Nevada in 1994.

There's a whirlpool machine several treatment tables, an ice machine and plenty of space for multiple athletes to get taped.

It wasn't always that way, according to Sakelarios.

"It took two or three years to get it to this level," Sakelarios said. "It was a struggle to get things. The administration was a big part of it. When you have the support of the administration, you are able to get a lot done."

Sakelarios loves what he does. He's serious, yet he'll occasionally poke fun at his students. Two of his favorites are Briana Neben and Carley Allison, his only two advanced students.

Neben is in her third year in the program. Quiet and unassuming, you can usually find her at Sakelarios' side during football and basketball games.

"I've always been interested in the medical field," Neben said. "My mom (Stephanie) works in it, and my brother is involved in it.

"It (the class) sounded interesting, so I signed up for it my sophomore year. I was getting mostly 100s on my tests, so Frank invited me to do the advanced class. I love it. We had four tests, and I never got less than an A."

Neben's mom is a Health Information Technology instructor at Western Nevada College. Her brother was working toward being an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician).

She's busiest during football season when her, Allison and Sakelarios are bombarded daily after school with football players who need taping and treatment. There is always a little give and take between the student-trainers and athletes.

"They tell me you're not as good as Frank (taping)," Neben said, laughing.

Both Neben and Allison are up to the point where Sakelarios trusts them to do some injury evaluation and treatment. That stuff comes with being a second-year student, according to Sakelarios.

As far as her future goes, Neben said she is going back and forth between athletic training and physical therapy.

"I've seen the therapist side of it and fell in love with it," Neben said. "One of my goals is to get on ESPN. It's on my bucket list."

Carson's team doctor, Kyle Swanson, asked Neben if she would like to observe one of his surgeries.

"That says a lot about our program, and the training we give here," Sakelarios said.

"He quizzed me and said I was better than some of the medical students (he has)," Neben said, a smile on her face.

Allison has been the student football manager the last couple of years. In fact, this year she's doing her Senior Project on being the team manager.

She got into the advanced program without having to go through the beginning practice.

"She was around all the time because he was manager of the football team," Sakelarios said. "She knew how to do things, and we really needed somebody to fill out the class."

Allison, one of the school's top students with a 4.39 GPA, has already applied to schools like Nevada, Saint Mary's, Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara to name a few, and she would like to continue what she started at Carson. Allison has saved Carson football coach Blair Roman many hours of work over the last couple of years.

Other than Nevada and tiny Linfield College in Oregon, none of her college choices have football programs.

"I'd love to be part of the football team at Nevada if I could," she said.

She said she would consider working with other sports in college, but football is her first love.

Allison said her ultimate goal is to be an administrator at the collegiate or professional level.

"For my (senior project) paper, I researched the college and pro level," Allison said. "There are no female CEOs in the NBA, NHL or NFL."

Women have made some strides at the college level in terms of high-end jobs.

A 2006 study by the College Student Journal said there were 27 female athletic directors at Division I schools, 41 at Division II schools and 108 at Division III.

"I'd be satisfied working at the college level," Allison said. "An opportunity to work at the professional level would be incredible."

If anybody has the drive and desire to make it to the top, it's Allison.


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