Beyond the game: Guilford athletic trainers

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Beyond the game: Guilford athletic trainers

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Without an athletic injury, chances are you’ve never visited the athletic trainers. 

These individuals are responsible for keeping Guilford’s athletes in top form so coaches and fans can always expect 100 percent on and off the clock.

Caring for all Guilford teams, Guilford trainers’ attendance at practices and games leaves any overzealous fan, or proud parent, in the dust. 

Gary Rizza

 To balance long workdays with family time, Gary Rizza has settled down as director of sports medicine at Guilford. He has been in North Carolina for over 10 years now, but before that, his job led him all over the world. 

 Fresh from Boston College, Rizza delayed going to school for his masters, instead taking a job at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which left him in charge of 37 sports. The six-year job gave him a connection to work for the training camp of the New York Giants. 

 Rizza went on to work at the 1984 Olympic soccer games and also volunteered at the Olympic Training Camp. 

 “International athletic training is a cycle,” said Rizza. “You have to get into the rotation. The best way to do that is volunteer.”

 After breaking into that cycle, Rizza worked with the Olympic luge team, traveling around Europe, until a three-month teaching position became available in Australia. 

 It was through a friend that Rizza came to North Carolina to head a physical training facility. 

 “You can experience the world but eventually you need someone to share it with,” said Rizza. 

 Married and with three kids, Rizza has found a comfortable environment here at Guilford. His responsibilities span from supply stock and insurance forms to student rehab, primarily with football. 

 “Even some division one schools don’t have what we have in terms of medical coverage,” said Rizza. “We’ve got a really good team here. We work together well and are all on the same wagon.”

Danielle Duffy

 Coming to Guilford as an intern from University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG), Danielle Duffy has joined the Guilford staff as an assistant athletic trainer. 

An athlete herself, Duffy came to North Carolina from her home in New Jersey to play basketball and study athletic training at Lenoir-Rhyne University. 

 Duffy realized she wanted to be an athletic trainer after working with many trainers and therapists to come back from a torn ACL.

 “I had both good and bad trainers in the process of coming back. I wanted to be one of the trainers people enjoyed working with,” said Duffy. 

 Having been a student-athlete, Duffy explained that she knows the demands of the schedule and can create realistic goals with the student-athletes she works with. 

 “I’d rather work a full day here than a 9-5 I don’t enjoy,” said Duffy. “That’s what says to me that I can keep doing this for a long period of time.”

While the job can demand long hours, Duffy still makes the effort to work out, hoping to lead a good example. 

 Working with women’s soccer and volleyball, Duffy is popular with the teams. 

 “Not only is she a really good trainer and knows how to take care of everything but she knows how to dress herself and has a pair of shoes for everything,” said junior Rachel Harman of the soccer team. 

 While her 30 plus pair shoe collection is infamous, Duffy avoids all discussions of which team is her favorite, claiming it is a taboo subject. 

Jared Siglin

 As senior Jordan Alexander learned the hard way, it would not be smart to challenge Assistant Athletic Trainer Jared Siglin to a soccer-juggling contest, or you may find yourself out $5.00. 

 “I love sports,” said Siglin. “I try to be around them all the time.”

 Siglin has succeeded in this way; assisting men’s soccer, basketball and lacrosse this year. 

 Studying physical education at Appalachian State, Siglin got his athletic training masters at UNCG. He worked with the Wake Forest football team.

 “Jared was the kind of student you wish you could have. Hard working, motivated, and easy to get along with,” said UNCG Assistant Professor/Clinical Education Coordinator Dr. Aaron Terranova. “During practices, games, shoot-arounds, whatever; Jared was always in my ear, asking questions, practicing rehab and assessment techniques, etc. I could tell that he actually wanted to be there.”

 Terranova was Siglin’s first advisor, since his graduation they have maintained a close friendship. 

 Athletic training is not a specialty major offered at Guilford. Siglin joined a masters program for athletic training, without studying it for his bachelors so he can relate to the problems Guilford students may face, and offers Exercise and Sports Science Majors some advice. 

 “Do everything you can to get experience,” said Siglin. “Help out, be around, watch. Those are the best ways to prepare.”

 Recently married, Siglin now splits his time between Guilford athletes and his family. 

With a common love of sports and desire to help athletes, our trainers accompany the Quakers through all wins and losses. 

Easily approachable and attentive, these individuals provide Guilford with an important service that should not be overlooked. 

Athletic trainers are an excellent resource for both educating student-athletes while also keeping them in top-shape.

“The trainers are the tape, wrapping the ankles that are our teams,” said Alexander. 

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