Lacrosse can be a brutal sport. With athletes whipping across the field, bodies colliding and sticks flying, injuries are bound to happen. And when they do happen, fourth-year kinesiology student Zoe Starkman has your back.

Beginning this summer, Zoe has been working as a trainer for the women’s varsity lacrosse team and has loved every minute of it. Tasked with providing athletes with things like taping, stretching and injury assessment, the varsity trainer is nothing short of a life saver.

Despite the challenging and sometimes stressful work that comes with being a trainer, Zoe finds that the gratification that comes with helping people in need can be incredibly rewarding.

“I really, really like it,” says Zoe. “The girls are great and it’s nice to be the one they turn to for questions. It feels good to be the one who — and I know this sounds cheesy — helps put smiles on their faces.”

Zoe's day-to-day usually involves physio appointments with athletes as well as providing assistance to physiotherapists.

Weather permitting, the lacrosse team has practice every night, Monday to Friday, and then plays games on the weekends. During these practices and games, Zoe is on hand to provide physical aid to athletes. While it’s stressful, it’s a completely different experience than what she’s used to.

“It’s cool that you get the clinical experience too,” says Zoe. “It’s very hands-on which is really nice. Over the past three years, it’s all been textbooks and exams. It’s cool to get to learn in a different way.”

As a fourth-year student, Zoe cherishes the new friends she’s made.

“It’s awesome to get to know a new group of friends from a variety of different years at the school,” says Zoe. “I’m in my last year and I have a set group of friends, so it’s nice to meet a lot of new people and have a consistent thing that you’re doing each and every day.”

Zoe knows how tough it can be to have an injury. It prevents you from playing and it can hold you back. In the past, she had irritating chronic shoulder injuries. It wasn’t anything major, but it held her back.

Becoming a trainer can be a gruelling process. You need to take two courses throughout your module, and to stay in, you have to keep a high average. Only after an application process can you begin work as a trainer.

Typically, trainers pursue careers as chiropractors or physiotherapists, but as of yet Zoe is unsure where she’ll go. More than anything, she’s just sad to leave.

“It’s a little sad, I had a lot of fun at Western,” says Zoe. “I’m not ready to leave. But you know, everything must come to an end.”

Zoe plans on traveling and working after graduation. Eventually, she hopes to apply to chiropractic and physiotherapy schools. However, she knows that anything could happen in the future and she’s prepared to tackle anything that comes her way.

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Moses Monterroza is a news editor for Volume 110 of the Gazette. Previously, he was an arts and life editor for Volume 109, and staff writer for Volume 108. You can reach him at moses@westerngazette.ca.

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