In regard to National Athletic Training Month

Claudia Percifield is the athletic trainer at New Berlin West. She explained that athletic training is more involved than people think.

Claudia Percifield is the athletic trainer at New Berlin West. She explained that athletic training is more involved than people think.

Although she does not work with all students at New Berlin West, Claudia Percifield definitely holds an important position in the athletic department.  Percifield is responsible for helping all athletes participating in any sport at New Berlin West. Her main focus is with the high school level. Percifield attends most games for all the varsity seasons. Football, basketball, volleyball, track and field, wrestling, poms, and cheer are some of the specifics. As for the cross country team, tennis, and golf she will help treat injuries, however she does not attend the games or matches because they are considered lower impact. In addition to being at all home events, she also travels with the varsity teams to provide medical attention when needed.

Percifield grew up in Illinois where she attended high school, then moved to Wisconsin where she attended Carroll University. While studying at Carroll, Percifield earned her master’s degree in athletic training. She also interned at a high school where she gained experience and credit for future investments. In her free time, Percifield enjoys doing yoga, spending time with her family, including her dog, and working out.

In a recent interview, Percifield discussed the different aspects of her job. Not to be confused with personal training, her position as an athletic trainer is to, “evaluate and treat injuries.”  Preceding this medical attention, she helps students get back on their way to return to a sport.  She loves that her job is completely different on a day to day basis. Working with athletes one on one, gives her “different interactions” and variety within a work day. Furthermore, because she works alongside with high school athletes, her typical work day is close to that of a second shift employee. Although Percifield expresses great passion in regard to her position at West, she admits that a downfall is the non- flexible hours. Her schedule revolves around many other sports teams, making it hard to commit to personal duties, including friends and family.

Percifield states that the hardest part about her job at West is dealing with concussions. Because they are not “black or white, there is no procedure that follows X, Y, and Z. Every case is different depending on the degree.” In addition she also said that, “each child is affected differently therefore, treating these cases are touchy and can also be time consuming.” That leads to the other challenging part about treating these cases. Percifield not only deals with physical damage done regarding the concussion, but also psychologically helping the athlete cope with daily adjustments that need to be made in order for the damage to be healed.

“Kids don’t want to sit out,” Percifield stated.  “Getting them to understand is half of the battle”.

Because the vigorous curriculum has drastically changed within the past 10 years, Percifield says that she has seen more injuries now because kids are becoming less versatile with playing many sports for short seasons, but instead focusing heavily on one or two sports. This involves playing at different levels of competitiveness and complexity, and furthermore, playing year round. Although this will help the child stay in shape in more general terms, in reality, these force kids to wear down the same muscle groups, joints, and bones, leaving them more vulnerable to injury.

Students interested in working with Percifield to gain experience first hand on the profession of athletic training can enroll in a DUO program through guidance during the scheduling process. Volunteer hours show leadership and show colleges that you want to get involved with the profession at a young age.

Percifield concluded by emphasizing her passion for athletes to “understand the value of hard work.”