Rothman Orthopaedics' sports medicine program in New York is completely comprehensive, involving the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries due to athletic activity. Our full team approach includes an athletic trainer, physical therapist, orthopaedic surgeon, non-surgical sports specialists and rehabilitation specialist.
An athletic trainer does far more than just supervise sports games and bandage athletes in their day-to-day activities, and Stephanie Marryat is proof of that. Their roles in sports medicine allow athletes to stay healthy and continue to play their sport.
Find out how her dedication to her career in sports medicine and her athletes is a crucial part of the community as a whole in the surrounding New York area.
Can you tell us about your role in sports medicine for Rothman Orthopaedics?
My name is Stephanie Marryat. I have worked with Rothman for 7 years all of which I have been contracted at Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City, NJ. I graduated from Springfield College in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Athletic Training and a minor in Health Studies. I am a licensed athletic trainer in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
How did you get involved in sports medicine and athletic training?
When I was determining my college major, I was not very familiar with athletic training. My high school had an athletic trainer but he did not have a strong presence in the school so I was not very familiar with what his role really was.
One of my physical education teachers pulled me aside during class one day and told me I would be a great athletic trainer. I grew up playing multiple sports and always loved the energy of the athletic environment.
Being an athlete I feel I always had a good understanding of the body, injuries, and how to treat them. I was very interested in medicine and knew no matter what field I ended up in, I wanted to help people. Sports medicine and athletic training tied everything together.
Can you give us an idea of a day in the life as an athletic trainer?
In general, a day in the life of an athletic trainer is very unpredictable. Some days are extremely busy while others are more laid back. There definitely is a mix of having downtime and being very busy but you always have to be on your toes and ready to go. Just when you take a second to relax, use the restroom or try to grab something to eat, you will get called to a field or someone will walk in needing assistance. It’s like clockwork.
Our day begins while school is in session. We take the time before the end of the school day to catch up on paperwork, emails, check in with the school nurse and athletic director, and to prepare for afterschool sports. Prep includes filling water jugs and ice coolers for home events and away games, as well as stocking our supplies and loading our golf cart.
Once the end of the day comes, the athletic training room becomes a zone of organized chaos for the next hour or so until home games begin. At that point we drive out to the field and watch the game(s). If we have multiple games and practices, we try to rotate from field to field to check in. Some games go very smoothly and we are not needed at all, other games we are being called out onto the field every few minutes.
After games we provide post-game treatment, document new injuries and put away our supplies.
What do your student athletes rely on you for most?
Aside from the obvious of getting them back on the field as soon as possible, my athletes mostly rely on me for emotional support. Injuries can be extremely devastating to a teenager and can have a negative impact on their emotional state.
Most of them are looking for someone to confide in and to validate their feelings. Some are looking for a liaison when speaking to their coach or parents, while others need frequent reassurance that they will get better. At the end of the day, they are all in need of someone they can trust.
What are your responsibilities within the community?
There are a lot of misconceptions about what an athletic trainer is and what we do. I do my best to have a strong presence at the school and to educate about sports medicine and athletic training as much as possible. I make myself easily available to the school community I work in so they feel comfortable reaching out to me or approaching me at any time.
I feel that I cannot be successful in my role if I have not built a rapport or gained the trust of my coworkers, athletes and their families. I also feel it is my responsibility to make sure the families are receiving the most timely, appropriate care.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I find my job extremely rewarding. Although it may seem insignificant to some, seeing how happy and grateful the athletes and their families are after I have helped them makes it all worth it. A simple thank you goes such a long way.
Which sports season is your busiest and when do you get to take some time off?
Fall is typically the most time consuming. With pre-season workouts starting the first week of July, and the season sometimes not ending until December, it is a very long season. During the fall season, I have eight teams I am responsible for, all of which are based at the school. My football team has home games on Saturdays so my weeks in the fall are typically pretty long. Fall is also the only season where I am required to travel to away games - for football.
The last two weeks of June, my district shuts down for a “rest period” so that is the only true “time off”. Teams practice during holiday breaks so with the exception of the actual holiday, I unfortunately do not get too many additional days off during that time.
What do you want people to know about your career?
Athletic trainers are a key middle man in the world of sports medicine, especially in the school system. Most often we are a witness to the injury, doing the initial evaluation, creating a diagnosis, providing initial treatment and determining the best next step. We help guide families in the right direction to ensure they are receiving the most appropriate care. We assist with scheduling doctors appointments and allow for easier communication with physicians.
Athletic training services in the school are free of charge which can be a huge financial relief to families. Face to face daily interaction helps build rapport and helps show the effects of treatment in real time. Most importantly, we are able to create personal relationships with the athletes and their families that last for years even after they have graduated.
Rothman Orthopaedic Institute’s Sports Medicine team is the leading provider of sports medicine orthopaedic care in the region. If you're in need of sports medicine attention in New York or the surrounding areas, visit us here.