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Caitlin Chaput is already making quite an impact, while forming bonds with the Indians’ student-athletes in her first year as the athletic trainer at Guilford High School. (Photo courtesy of Caitlin Chaput )
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An athletic trainer’s job involves much more than taping up a cut or an injured ankle. Caitlin Chaput is making the most of her role as a trainer at Guilford High School by forming close connections with its athletes on a daily basis.
Caitlin, a Vermont native, played soccer, basketball, and softball in high school before playing rugby at Southern Connecticut State University. After doing an apprenticeship at East Haven High School and earning high marks from her supervisors, Caitlin reached out to Guilford to see if there were any opportunities in her field. Now, Caitlin is in her first year as the Indians’ new athletic trainer.
“I spent some time at East Haven with [East Haven trainer Mark Aceto] and learned what it took to be an athletic trainer, and he was impressed with my performance,” says Caitlin, a New Haven resident who plays rugby for the New Haven Women’s Club. “I made a lot of connections with people during my time there, and so I interviewed with Guilford, and the fit seemed perfect. It’s a community I’m glad I got involved with.”
Caitlin’s work day gets rolling in the afternoon, when she often sees a wave of athletes piling into her training room. About an hour later, it’s time for the games to begin.
“I get to the school around 1 p.m. usually, and then I get everything ready for the day. I talk to the athletic directors and nurses and touch base with everybody. I then get ready for the rush of madness at the 2:08 p.m. bell,” Caitlin says. “I get all these kids that come in and need help, and the tape starts rolling everywhere. The kids are friendly with me, and I like that friendly atmosphere. I then go to home games, which could be at different places. I end my day back at Guilford and sometimes catch kids coming in on buses from away games.”
Caitlin not only loves sports in general, she also likes watching Guilford’s student-athletes enjoying their time on the field. It can be hard for Caitlin when she has to take someone out of a game due to an injury, but in the end, Caitlin knows that she’s doing what’s best for the kids’ well-being.
“At the end of the day. I’m happy if I get to help them enjoy their sport. I don’t like to take them off the field, but I want to keep them safe. They’re always so grateful, too,” Caitlin says. “The job is stressful when they don’t like that I have to remove them from the field. But being an athlete, I know where they are coming from.”
Of course, there was an adjustment period for the Indians’ athletes when Caitlin came aboard. However, they quickly warmed up to her, as did Caitlin’s other colleagues at Guilford. Caitlin says that everyone gave her a warm welcome and is providing her with the resources she needs to do her job.
“At the beginning, it was strange because the kids would come in and have that look on their face like they didn’t know what was going on or who I was,” says Caitlin. “They’ve all been welcoming, especially the parents, who have been supportive and understanding. The coaches have been receptive and great to me, along with the nursing staff and faculty.”
Guilford football Head Coach Anthony Avallone is another new member of the Indians’ athletic family. Avallone commends Caitlin for her positive attitude and the constant hustle she displays while working in one of the most demanding professions in scholastic sports.
“Caitlin has done an amazing job jumping in quickly during the busiest sport season of the school year. The hours are incredibly demanding, and football practices almost daily. She makes every effort to be at all practices that her schedule will allow and manages the recovery process very well for any injured athletes,” says Avallone. “She has quickly earned the respect of our student-athletes. This job can sometimes feel thankless, but her commitment to her profession and the welfare of our players helps us be ready to compete each day.”
Caitlin is still in the early stages of her first year at Guilford, and there are still two more seasons and several different sports to come. Some of those sports are new to Caitlin, but she’s ready for them, and feels eager to continue being someone whom the Indians’ athletes can depend on.
“I’m looking forward to working in sports I’m not familiar with. I’ve never seen a fencing match before. It will be interesting to learn about those sports,” says Caitlin. “I’m also excited about getting to see all the talented athletes I see now in their prime sports and how far they can go. I’ve developed nice bonds with the kids. They talk to me about their days while I’m working on them. They go beyond being my patients on a personal level. I’m looking forward to all the twists and turns that may come and figuring them out. I’m ready for it.”
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