Posts Tagged ‘athletic trainers’

Jessica Caselden (left) and Mandi Black, proud, hard-working Wolf alumni. (Photo courtesy Black)

The community is united.

While understanding budget cuts may be necessary as Coupeville schools deal with financial issues, a proposal to cut the athletic trainer position at the high school/middle school has been met with resounding opposition.

The latest to offer their thoughts on the matter is cheer team advisor/school nurse Jenne Morrell, who, like CHS Athletic Trainer Jessica Caselden, is a Wolf alumnus.


Last year Coupeville School District made a change, a big change.

We added a licensed athletic trainer to our high school athletic program!

For the first time, our students had access to real-time diagnosis, treatment, and injury prevention.

This may not seem like a big deal, but, for our athletes, this has been a game changer.

Let me explain why.

Many of our athletes are not able to access healthcare in a timely manner.

This can be the result of many factors.

They may not have a healthcare provider that they see regularly, and if they do, it is very difficult to schedule appointments for athletes due to injury timing.

We love our Island, but these injuries and games all occur after hours and clinics are not open.

If an athlete is lucky enough to be able to access an urgent care clinic the wait times are hours and hours.

Many families are not able to miss work to sit in a clinic for hours waiting to be seen.

This means that in the past our athletes have often not sought care for injuries that begin as minor but progress to serious injuries when left untreated.

How many of you are aware of the number of high school athletes that have surgery for an injury that if properly treated could have been managed without surgical intervention?

These injuries will affect our athletes for the rest of their lives.

If we do not have the option to send injured students to see an athletic trainer our athletes will pay the price with their future mobility.

By providing access to an athletic trainer, we are prioritizing the health, safety, and well-being of our athletes.

If they learn now how to care for their bodies properly, they will be prepared to live long, healthy, active lives.

Athletic trainers bridge the gap between students and healthcare in partnership with the school nurses we have on campus.

Together this creates a link, serving as a patient advocate for our athletes, many of whom will not regularly see any other healthcare provider.

Being able to have someone who can diagnose concussions and injuries leads to early intervention and enhances recovery.

I personally have learned so much from Jessie; she truly has a special gift with these athletes and there is no other individual on our campus that can provide the care and treatment she does.

She is dedicated and has never said no to any request, even when these requests cut into her personal time.

She treated my cheerleaders without a second thought even though they are not part of the athletic program.

Every time she is consulted, she provides care with a smile and truly cares about these students.

I would love to have the data for the number of taped ankles and student visits she has completed on and off the field.

If you were to divide that number by 10k you would see what a bargain our athletic trainer position truly is.

Not to mention the fact that she taught managers and students to also tape athletes.

Students who had never thought about pursuing a career in healthcare are now seeking out healthcare as an occupation.

Her sports med classes have provided experiences that have never been offered in our district.

As a district that strives to prepare every student for their future, we really need to look at providing our students with the tools they need to keep their bodies strong and healthy.

Removing this position is a step in the wrong direction and will have a profoundly negative impact on our students.

Let’s get creative and see how we can allow this position to remain in our high school.


Jenne Morrell BSN, CSN

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Jessica Caselden (second from right), a vital part of a strong group of life-long female friends who came out of Coupeville schools and are now giving back. (Photo courtesy Kassie O’Neil)

Support for Jessica Caselden continues to roll in.

As Coupeville Schools administrators debate proposed budget cuts — including removing Caselden’s Athletic Trainer position — public debate is at a fever pitch.

The following is a letter from Michelle Armstrong, a Wolf Mom who is highly active in community work with the Brandon Graham Foundation.


Coupeville School Board and Mr. Steve King,

I am writing this letter regarding the proposed cut to the athletic training position and what a negative impact this could have on the student athletes, parents, and community, if you cut her position as the athletic trainer.

Jessica Caselden plays a vital role not only in the classroom but also on the sidelines.

I am grateful to have her at Coupeville.

I have been at the school while my girls were practicing and seen Ms. Caselden in the weight room wrapping athletes ankles before practice and games.

Also working with athletes on strengthening exercises to help with their ankle injury or knee injury.

Having the athletes do the exercises is key to their recovery.

I am grateful for her because I know what it is like to miss work to go to physical therapy.

Physical therapy twice a week, times that by 4-6 weeks, adds up.

Also adds up when you have co-pays and take time off work to take your child to physical therapy appointments.

With Jessica at the school, she has made sure to follow up with the students and their injury.

Over this past school year my daughter was able to go to Ms. Caselden to get her ankles wrapped before games and asked for different exercises for her ankles and hamstrings.

Ms. Caselden has not only helped my daughter, but I know she has helped so many others.

Parents who have had injured children I am sure are thankful their child had Jessica to help with their recovery.

Having sports for my child has helped her keep her grades up and gives her motivation to keep pushing forward.

Thank you, Jessica, teachers, and coaches who have played a vital role for these student athletes.

I promise you they will remember 20 years from now who believed in them and kept pushing them to do those exercises and fighting to keep positions.

Board members and Mr. King, my proposal to you, can you educate the parents more about where your funding comes from?

Some may not know that filling out the free and reduced lunch forms are vital to school districts, or the military forms are vital to the budget.

Thank you,

Mrs. Armstrong

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CHS football supports, and appreciates, its athletic trainer. (Brenn Sugatan photo)

She is needed, she is appreciated, she is valued.

All of that and much more comes out when Coupeville athletes, coaches and parents talk about Jessica Caselden, who returned to her hometown to teach a new generation of Wolves.

With proposed budget cuts swirling, the option of cutting Caselden’s role as CHS Athletic Trainer is massively unpopular, and many are speaking out.

Another letter in support of her:


Jessie and what she has brought to our school and district has been seen.

Our family, the football family, has benefited greatly from having Jessie on the sidelines and in the gym with these kids. Just as I am sure other sports have as well.

From reassuring kids they are OK to giving the initial eval on the sidelines, she has been a bright spot.

She speaks words of encouragement, when kids need it.

She is teaching these kids things our district otherwise wouldn’t be able to offer.

It would be a disservice to our kids, both the athletes and those who wish to go into sports meds, to do away with her position and let her go.

Before you consider letting her go consider all the good she has done for our kids.

I know my family was grateful for her this year.

I was looking forward to having her on the sidelines with us in the coming years.


A Coupeville family of athletes

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Kassie O’Neil (second from left) is one of many speaking out in support of retaining Jessica Caselden (far right) as Coupeville High School Athletic Trainer. (Photo courtesy O’Neil)

With proposed budget cuts swirling in the air, many are speaking out about the importance of athletics in Coupeville schools.

The idea that Jessica Caselden, a CHS alumnus who has had a huge positive impact as a teacher and athletic trainer, may see that second job eliminated, does not sit well with colleagues and friends.

The following is from Wolf JV girls’ basketball coach Kassie O’Neil, who grew up with, attended school with, and played sports with her close friend.


Dear Coupeville School Board members and Superintendent Steve King,

I’m writing this as a Coupeville High School coach, parent of athletes, and community member.

I just wanted to throw in my two cents about Jessica Caselden and her athletic training position being cut.

It is my strong belief that this is the absolute wrong decision.

When budgeting mistakes are made, the first things to go are usually the things the board deems “extra” and unnecessary; art, music, sports, etc.

As a former Coupeville student who used these things to propel me through the “normal” stuff, such as math and science, it is my humble opinion that those things aren’t “extra”, but absolutely necessary.

And with these necessary and important things comes the people who run them and make sure things are done with the utmost attention, professionalism, and care for our kids.

Jessy is one of these people and her position as athletic trainer is one of those positions that are incredibly important to the safety and care of our student athletes. 

When the athletic training position was proposed, there was a ton of credited information showing just how much money this position actually saves our district and our parents/families.

Cutting this position might seem to save money on the front end, but it will undoubtedly cost people on the back end.

Eliminating this position seems like a band aid fix to an issue that wasn’t even created by this position in the first place.

Aside from the money-side of the issue, which seems to be the only thing taken into account for the board, there is the community side.

What does an athletic trainer do for our community and kids?

As a coach, I witness over half of my team get taped before every practice and game.

Are coaches supposed to watch YouTube videos and haphazardly tape these kids hoping the job holds up?

When a kid falls and hits their head, if we don’t have an athletic trainer to clear them, they will have to sit out for the rest of a game or practice, even if they are fit to play.

When my players come to me with a question about an injury, pain, or advice on how to heal something, I send them to Jessy because she is the only one in this school qualified to help them.

If not for the ability to do this, parents will be taking their kids to someone outside the school district, costing them money.

Not only is Jessy there for the physical issues kids present, but she is there as a trusted female role-model, which is something I find just as important as being able to assess and help heal injuries.

Ms. Caselden isn’t just some random person we found to fill this position.

She is a former Coupeville student-athlete and a trusted member of our community.

She is here for the long-haul.

You know that in keeping her in this position, you are securing the safety of all current and future student athletes.

As a parent, knowing she is at the school and on the sidelines gives me peace of mind.

Before Jessy was hired as athletic trainer, she came to games and did the job unpaid.

When we had questions about injuries or needed her help, she didn’t hesitate to jump in.

She prioritized the safety and well-being of students even when she wasn’t being paid to do so.

This is the kind of person you want to keep on your sidelines and in your payroll.

Knowing her, she will not be able to attend games without intuitively stepping in to help if injuries occur.

And that just isn’t fair in any way.

The fact that she had to step in at all should be telling enough of the need for this position.

As a previous person stated in their anonymous letter, unpaid labor is an issue.

And eliminating this position knowing that Jessy can’t help but tend to these kids, even without having the title and paid position, feels like a workaround.

Not only will it make it nearly impossible for Jessy to attend games without feeling the need to help, but she will still be a teacher within the school, so the kids will still have access to her throughout the day.

Meaning, if they have a question about an injury they have, they will seek her out.

And we all know, without a doubt, Jessy will help them because she is a person of integrity and compassion who cares about these kids.

I know I don’t just speak for myself when I write this letter.

I speak for all parents of student athletes in this community who understand the benefits of having a professional on the sidelines and in the school.

Who understand what having a strong, female role-model does for young girls.

Who understand the importance of having people in positions of influence being those they can trust with their children.

Who understand that to cut this position would be to prioritize money over the safety and well-being of our children.

Again, I write this letter as a coach, a former athlete, an alumnus of this school, and witness to Jessy Caselden’s love for this community and its students.

I implore the board to take into consideration all that we would be losing as a community who prides itself on the safety of our children should this position be cut. 

Kassie O’Neil

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Jessica Caselden (right), working as an athletic trainer at her alma mater. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Proposed budget cuts by Coupeville Schools administrators have drawn strong responses.

The following is a letter to the editor from a community member concerned about the possibility Jessica Caselden’s Athletic Trainer position at the high school will be eliminated.


Coupeville School Board and Mr. Steve King,

Removing Jessica Caselden from the athletic trainer position due to poor budgeting tactics is ridiculous.

As it has been said, the athletic department did not cause this budget crisis.

The argument will be made that athletics is not education, but everyone who works with kids in a paid or volunteer capacity knows that’s not true.

Athletics is the lever that keeps many of our most vulnerable students in school, coming back every day.

Athletics is the carrot that keeps many of our struggling students pushing forward academically, when they would just rather stop trying.

The staff is amazing, all of them, the teachers, the coaches, every single person that touches our children’s lives.

In turn our athletes are amazing human beings, because they are influenced and educated by the best.

The real problem here though, that no one wants to discuss, is our education system in the United States is built off unpaid labor, primarily of women.

Jessica Caselden is not just going to ignore the needs of our students when the funding is cut for the athletic trainer position.

At a track meet a few weeks back, you know who they paged for help when they thought there was an injury?

Jessica Caselden, if you’re at the track, please come to long jump.”

We watched her run to the aid of an injured basketball player on the opposing team during the district playoffs, with her calm and reassuring presence.

Those are just two examples of many; she is there for our students, and they love her.

Mr. King, Coupeville School Board, I thought you were better than that.

No one wants to see our school district’s athletics program built off the unpaid labor of women, or the unpaid labor of anyone for that matter.

Stop this nonsense!

If we need to make budget cuts, maybe Mr. King and the school board need to take a look at their strategic plan.

You know what isn’t education?

The Connected Food Program and a public school employing a chef at a salary of nearly 100k per year.

Healthy food does not require a chef, nor does it need to be expensive.

Jessica Caselden needs to be retained as athletic trainer.

Go Wolves!


A Community Member

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