March is National Athletic Training Month and Winthrop resident Britney Rand is among those celebrating her profession and helping to promote and advance it.
Rand, who Winthrop High hockey followers know as the dedicated president of the boosters club, is the assistant athletic trainer at the Pingree School in South Hamilton. It was not a career path that she had planned on prior to college.
“People ask me all the time why I became an athletic trainer and to be honest I just fell into it for no apparent reason, which is so strange,” said Rand. “A lot of athletic trainers will say that they used to be an athlete and they really like sports. Or I was injured when I was in high school so I saw my athletic trainer and I got into it that way. I really had no idea what an athletic trainer did, what the training or education was like. I picked it on a whim because I sort of had an idea that I wanted to do something in health care. Fortunately I think I picked the right major.”
Rand, 25, attended the Willis School and Winthrop Middle School before becoming a 2005 graduate of Savio Prep where she was a two-year captain of the cheerleading squad. She attended the University of New Hampshire for one year before transferring to Northeastern University and earning a Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training in 2010 while receiving the Faculty Achievement Award. She continued her education California University of Pennsylvania, receiving a Master of Science degree in Sports Management: Intercollegiate Athletic Administration. She also hold a Certification in Sports Nutrition (CSN).
Rand said athletic trainers are required to take numerous courses in science as an undergraduate. “It’s chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, gross anatomy, therapeutic exercise, nutrition, psychology, statistics – it’s everything.”
Northeastern is famous for its cooperative education program and Rand took full advantage of the internship opportunities.
“I got to do two cooperatives and three clinical rotations,” said Rand. “I had a coop at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington in physical therapy and I found out that I wasn’t interested in physical therapy. My clinical rotations were at high schools in athletic training.”
Rand started working at Pingree the day after her college commencement. She had passed the certification board exam in her senior year.
“I had helped out a summer basketball camp where I met the head athletic trainer at Pingree and I was offered an assistant trainer’s position there,” said Rand.
Rand is in her third year at Pingree, a private school with 350 students. She is a trainer for all of the student-athletes on 44 teams, ranging from sailing to swimming to basketball.
“I work with all athletes, boys and girls,” said Rand. “At Pingree students are required to play two sports. Essentially every student at Pingree is a student-athlete which is really cool.”
Rand’s day at Pingree begins before team practices where she assists athletes in a number of capacities out of the public eye.
“Athletic training is really so much more than taping [ankles]. A lot of times the public only sees us taping, icing, and filling up the water buckets. They don’t see any of the behind-the-scenes stuff: the day-to-day practices, the rehabilitation, the evaluation of an athlete’s injury Athletic training is prevention, rehabilitation, medical evaluation, nutritional advice, biomechanics – there’s so much to it than just seeing us walking the sidelines at the games.”
Rand also serves as a mentor to Endicott College students who are considering careers in athletic training. She’s happy to instruct aspiring athletic trainers and to encourage them in a highly respected profession she enjoys.
“I love being an athletic trainer,” said Rand. “In any job there is the monotonous aspect but in the wide of scheme of things, my responsibilities change every single of day. I may be doing rehab with an athlete or I might be answering questions about strength training or conditions. It runs the gamut of what I can see. It changes day to day.”
Rand said she would recommend to high school students a career in athletic training.
“Health care in itself can be a really amazing profession. There are so many things that fall under the umbrella of sports medicine and I feel athletic training is the right fit for me. I feel that any career that really goes into sports medicine, if you really like the environment of sports and athletes, it’s an incredible profession.”
Rand is daughter of David and Linda Rand and the sister of Jake Rand, a former three-sport captain at Winthrop High School who is playing golf and hockey at Endicott College. She is the niece of Winthrop High director of athletics Peter Gobiel.