LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As Kentucky high school athletes step onto the field or court, athletic trainers may be on the sidelines making sure the students are healthy while taking care of their injuries. 

What You Need To Know

  •  UofL Health athletic trainers are teaching students at Fairdale High School a few techniques 

  •  The trainers are helping expose the students to various career paths in health care 

  •  McKenna Brinley is in her second year of athletic training 

Inside the classroom, McKenna Brinley of UofL Health is teaching Fairdale High School students the basics of sideline athletic training. 

“I think getting exposed to a career in athletic training, especially if they’re already in sports, which is where I kind of thrived,” Brinley said. 

These students are learning skills including wrist and ankle wrapping, cervical spine (C-spine) stabilization and properly using a sling, techniques they can apply in medicine and on the field.

“I really enjoyed getting to learn about athletic training, and once I saw what the job is specifically, I fell in love with it a lot more," Brinley said. 

Now in her second year as an athletic trainer, Brinley is working with Fairdale High School students through the UofL Health and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) partnership.

While she may be used to working on a court or field, the former JCPS student is in a classroom, giving students a taste of what she does to make sure athletes are safe.

“They see it all in the NFL and college, how they get C-spine and things like that," Brinley said. "It gives them a real-life kind of experience and see, maybe, 'Hey, I would want to do that in the future or not.'”

Planning to attend the University of Louisville next year, senior Audrey Duran Martinez said she intends to work toward her goal of becoming an emergency medicine doctor.

“The never-knowing what you're going to find, what you're going to see and having a new day every day is why I want to do that," Duran Martinez said. "I've had a lot of work experience, and I realized a 9-to-5 job is not what I want. And I want to save lives.” 

Duran Martinez added this is helping her prepare for her future.

“It makes me feel relieved in the sense that I'll be able to understand all these topics while others are still trying to catch up," she said. 

Brinley said this helps students stay ahead of the game if they choose to go into athletic training or a similar field.

“They will already kind of know how to do it and have an upper hand,” Brinley said. 

In 2023, UofL Health donated $50,000 to eight JCPS schools to support initiatives focusing on equity, inclusion and increasing diversity in health care careers.