HATTIESBURG, Miss. - There is no rest for the weary.
At least that is what it is like for Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Todd McCall and his talented staff for the Golden Eagles’ football fall camp. A group that consists of one full-time assistant, Melissa Chastang, two graduate assistants, and 10 student assistants, oversees the safety and welfare needs of 105 football players as they get ready for the upcoming season.
It is not a job for the faint-hearted.
“There is not much sleep (during this time of year),” said McCall after practice Thursday. “We get here at 6:30 in the morning and leave here at about 10 o’clock every night.”
Just like every support staff group at Southern Miss, McCall and his staff wear a lot of hats.
“That is the best way to put it,” said McCall. “I have 10 students, four graduates assistant certified athletic trainers and Melissa helping with football. We bring a lot to the table that probably does not get observed on a daily basis.”
For one thing, the athletic training staff bags up to 400 bags of ice – when they can get that much – each week that the team uses for every aspect of practice, including the post-workout cold tubs used to cool down the players’ bodies on these hot south Mississippi summer days.
Those duties also include daily tasks in keeping the Golden Eagles running as healthy as possible as well as efficient as possible during their practices.
They do everything from the pre-practice taping and wrapping to coverage of the players on the field, as well as any type of medical care, which includes just giving them water for hydration purposes.
After practices, the athletic training staff is there waiting for players as they come off the field and then in the training room 30 minutes after that when the players start filing in to get treatment after lunch.
Still there is no rest time during the latter part of the afternoon as players stream in during their down times and after their respective position meetings to take care of their rehabilitative needs.
The day finally gets closer to the end after the athletic training staff has ordered that day’s evening snack that they deliver to all the players.
A lot of this work falls on McCall’s student athletic training staff.
“Let’s don’t forget about our students who are in our athletic training curriculum,” said McCall. “We can’t make this thing go without having student support.
“Much like the nursing students who go to the hospitals to get their rotations with their school requirements, our kids come here to get their curriculum and do their rotations under our certified athletic training staff. They get their clinical experiences with us on a daily basis as well.”
Their jobs include everything from setting up the field and breaking it down, but they also must have to know CPR, their first-aid standards and have to be able to evaluate athletes as they sharpen their skills on a daily basis, while also helping in the players’ rehabilitative efforts.
It is a never-ending task and the Golden Eagle athletic training staff continues to be one of the best at taking care of its student-athletes.
Season tickets, flex plans, and group tickets for the 2017 Golden Eagle home season are still available and can be purchased by going online at SouthernMissTickets.com, by calling 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or by visiting the Pat Ferlise Ticket Office, weekdays, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Discounts are available for Southern Miss faculty and staff, senior citizens, military personnel, and recent Southern Miss graduates. The Golden Eagles open the 2017 season at home on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 3 p.m. against SEC opponent Kentucky.