Grambling State University’s new athletic trainer, Vernita Young said she is looking for GSU to be the envy of the Southwestern Athletic Conference when it comes to medical care.
Young, the new director of sports medicine is a Memphis Tenn. native, who familiar with Historical Black Colleges/Universities.
Prior to being at Grambling, she recently worked at Stillman College, which is an HBCU in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Before then, she was a physician extender and a team doctor at Tennessee Technological University, where she attended graduate school. Vernita Young received her Bachelor’s degree in sports medicine athletic training from University of West Florida. She then did an assistantship and completed her Master’s degree at Tennessee Tech. She began taking the certification test during her graduate studies and eventually established her Athletic Trainers Certification in 2005. When a friend suggested the profession opportunity at Grambling to her, Young was soon hired after she applied.
“It is my job to make sure an athlete is safe to compete,” said Young. She is responsible for the prevention and care of athletic injuries. She is not only in charge of injuries, but the psychological side as well.
“You have some athletes that think their career is over just because they have an injury,” she said. “It is our job to build their confidence back up as well as rehab and give them confidence there and let them know like, ‘Hey look it’s fixed, it’s healed, come on! You can do this! Suck it up and let’s go!'” The athletic trainer also deals with nutrition, diagnosis, and how serious the injuries are.
Ms. V, as her students like to call her, loves the fact that she gets to talk to people, work with sports and travel. “I love working with young people, I love working with athletes, I love traveling,” she said.
Her biggest challenge of her job is breaking bad news to athletes.
“That’s the most difficult part, telling a kid that you can’t compete this season, or right now or in the time frame that you’re looking at,” said Young. She is completely honest with her athletes. “I’m not gone lie to them and be like ‘Yes, everything is going to be great! You’re going to play tomorrow!’ knowing they have a concussion and can’t play for at least a week.”
The athletic trainer’s objective for Grambling is to be the premier sports medicine program of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. “If we’re able to get our athletes back on the field to do what they do best so we can continue doing what we do – win, win, win! Then we’re doing our job.”