The Athletic Training Facility: Here to Help


The athletic training facility is located on the first floor of Niles West.

By Michael McKay, Staff Writer

Niles West is recognized for its incredible facilities and devoted, hard-working staff, and the athletic training facility is no exception. The athletic training facility is committed to helping student-athletes through pain and injury and assisting them in rehabilitation to get athletes to return to their sport as soon as possible.

The facility is run by athletic trainers Laura Gorski and Dave Smetana, who work tirelessly to help West athletes with their injuries every day. They also attend Niles West sporting events and are always ready to go when an athlete is injured in play.

As athletic trainers, we evaluate treat, prevent and rehabilitate athletic injuries,” Smetana said. “We are also equipment managers, so we hand out and collect all sports uniforms.” 

Their responsibilities go beyond athletic training and rehabilitation; managing the athletic training facility also requires keen organization.

“We build a schedule together around home sports competitions. We also both attend each football game during their season, home and away. If there are any playoff games, we’ll also travel to those,” Gorski said.

As many athletes at West know, the training facility becomes jam-packed with athletes every day once the 3:23 p.m. bell rings. Gorski and Smetana work nonstop to help out every athlete that walks through the doors.

“Once 3:23 comes, all hell breaks loose. Each day, we help about 200 athletes within twenty minutes to prepare them for all competitions or practices,” Smetana said.

Both Smetana and Gorski have worked at West for many years now, and have undergone extensive training for their positions.

“We both have degrees in kinesiology and athletic training. To become athletic trainers, we had to get certified by the CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation Allied Health Education Programs),” Gorski said. 

The trainers also help out students who aspire to have athletic training careers in the future as part of the Sports Medicine Career Club.

“We also oversee the Sports Medicine Career Club here at West and help out high school students here, so they can get an idea of what it’s like to be an athletic trainer,” Smetana said.

One of the members of the Sports Medicine Career Club who assists Smetana and Gorski in the athletic training facility is junior Samantha Schuy. Schuy loves working in and around the facility and thanks the trainers for teaching her all she knows.

I am taught how to brace and bandage athletes. I also help out with other basic first aid,” Schuy said. “This place makes me so happy. [Smetana and Gorski] are the greatest, they are so nice, and they teach me a lot. It’s almost like a second family being in here.”

If you’re an athlete at West and you need help with any type of sports-related injury, stop by the athletic training facility to get it checked out by the school’s amazing athletic training team.