Pennsauken middle school athletic trainer looks to educate younger students

Katherine Scott Image
Thursday, August 24, 2023
NJ middle school athletic trainer looks to educate younger students
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This is the first year Pennsauken Public Schools hired a full-time athletic trainer for the middle school.

PENNSAUKEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Preseason is well underway at Pennsauken High School and students prepare for the fall season in the gym and on the field.

Taylor Garron can be seen on the high school sidelines, but she is taking on a new role in the school district. This is the first year Pennsauken Public Schools hired a full-time athletic trainer for the middle school.

"This is really important to build a foundation at the middle school level," explained Garron.

Garron is prepping the new training room at Phifer Middle School, pointing out that athletic trainers at the high school level are quite common, but there are not so many in New Jersey middle schools.

"The student-athletes learn how to properly fuel themselves, recover, and a big part of my job is going to be education and injury prevention," Garron said.

Garron will be on site to tend to injuries, but her role goes beyond that.

"We're really not looking at injuries as much as education, prevention, safety. Talk about health and nutrition, proper strength, proper training," explained Billy Snyder, athletic director for Pennsauken Public Schools.

"They're 10 years old. They don't know about stretching. They don't know about hydration. They don't know about fueling their body. Taylor comes and brings that to them," added Phifer assistant principal Ralph Midora.

Garron will work closely with Dyan Conklin, the coach of the middle school's strength and conditioning program, which is going into its third year.

Garron and Conklin say these programs help prevent student-athletes from over-training or training improperly.

The basics they learn here will help in high school.

"We start with light weight. We start with the movement pattern and teaching good technique," Conklin said.

The idea here is to educate the whole child: body and mind.

"I'll be able to help these athletes prepare themselves physically and mentally," Garron said.

"I think the biggest issue we're having right now in youth sports is the desire to win now. And it's win, win, win. Pay money. Better training to win right now, where I think our core values are one, have fun, two, build confidence," said Pete Nardello, 7th-grade assistant principal.

So what should these middle school athletes keep in mind when starting this school year?

"Come in with a positive mindset, ready to learn because we're all there ready to teach them," emphasized Conklin with a smile.