March is National Athletic Training Month, making it a perfect time to applaud all of the incredible athletic training staffs around our league, who work tirelessly to care for our athletes.
For the Riveters, the team from NJFASSST joined on as the team’s official athletic training partner this season. Kelley Davy oversees all athletic trainers for FASSST, while Lauren Barry has been working on the front line with the Riveters as the team’s athletic trainer.
“I was hired by FASSST specifically to work with the Riveters,” said Barry, who had previous experience working with hockey players. “It was a great surprise when I got the phone call asking me to work with them. I love athletic training and working with athletes at this level has revamped my passion for it."
Barry, who played volleyball for Kean University, took an unconventional route to athletic training. In high school, she was given the option to take on an internship during school hours or write a thesis paper. Jumping at the chance to get out of the classroom, Barry opted for the internship. She had sustained back and shoulder injuries from volleyball and had done treatment with an exercise scientist at a physical therapy practice. She began an internship shadowing him as an athletic trainer.
Lauren Barry, right, is the NJFASSST athletic trainer who works directly with the Riveters.
“I had to do a presentation at the end of the internship, and I actually just watched it back recently,” said Barry. “It was so funny because at the end of it, I said, ‘I don’t want to be an athletic trainer. It’s too much work and too much school.’”
But after deciding her marketing major wasn’t for her, Barry switched to athletic training and hasn’t looked back.
“Athletic training has been a passion of mine ever since,” she said. “I love helping people and the reward of helping athletes get back into the game and being there for them.”
In recent years, more and more women have been joining the athletic training ranks. Both Barry and Davy, who has worked her way up into an administrative role having been in the field for 10 years, have marked the importance of being confident as a female in the male-dominated field.
“In the past, on the sidelines with a male coach, a lot of times they would talk down to you or wouldn’t listen to what you were saying,” said Davy. “It’s about building relationships with athletes, coaches, administrators and board members, showing them you know what you’re doing and making sound decisions. It’s showing them that you truly care about the athletes, but taking that a step further with the knowledge and education to back it up.”
And for both Davy and Barry, the opportunity of working with a professional women’s team brings a new level of excitement to the job.
Davy’s role with the Riveters includes making sure every practice and game is staffed with an athletic trainer and ensuring that the team is receiving the highest level of care.
“Bringing the high level of care we offer is really important to me and Lauren and the FASSST staff,” said Davy. “I know they’re taking good care of [the Riveters] and getting them the things they need. We also offer them other services and make sure we treat them as professional athletes, not just people who train a couple times a week.”
Barry, who works directly as the team’s athletic trainer, treats the players before and after games and practices, taking care of and preventing injuries. During games and practices, she’s on the bench in case a player sustains an injury.
“Athletic training is funny because if you’re not busy, it’s a good thing, whereas other jobs, not being busy usually means you’re doing something wrong,” said Barry.
She also notes that she always looks forward to Riveters’ practices, even though they typically come at the end of 15-hour days for her.
“I’m always excited to get to the rink,” said Barry. “It’s never, ‘Oh, I just want to go home.’ I love watching them skate. Especially in the beginning, it was almost mesmerizing to see how smoothly they move across the ice.”
“It’s incredible to see them perform and what they go through behind-the-scenes. They’re the toughest women I’ve ever met.”