I am volunteering with the athletic trainer for the Tennessee Valley Vipers, an arena football team in Huntsville, Alabama. I am doing this to help me be eligible for the MTSU college major to obtain my athletic trainer's degree. I am also doing this because it has turned out to be a lot of fun! I work with the professional athletic trainer for the team. He's a great guy, and has been very patient and willing to teach me many things. I have learned about treatment for injured players, and have also been allowed to help with some of them. I fix ice packs for the guys, and help with heat treatments and electrical stimulation for injured muscles. These are some big men, and could be intimidating except that they are all so friendly, and most of them are hilarious as well. They love to tell stories while I am wrapping and taping their ankles and knees, or applying ice packs to their injuries and aches. One player let me wrap his ankle over and over. He just kept telling me "that's not right--I don't know what it is, but it doesn't feel right." I wrapped until I got it right.
During practice, I get water, towels, and Gatorade. I also help at the games. This includes setup of the entire arena, which is done completely by volunteers. The trainer and the players have made me feel like I really belong, and that's been great because this is my first participation in volunteer work. It has been an incredible learning experience. I've made some new friends that I would never have met without this opportunity.