Coast Union’s sports programs have not had a full-time, on-site athletic trainer for a number of years.
Qualified, competent trainers have filled in at the high school on a part-time basis from time to time, but the uncertainty surrounding the situation is no longer a problem with the hiring this month of Megan Swanlund.
Interviewed in her trainer’s room at the school Monday, Aug. 14, Swanlund, a full-time, experienced athletic trainer, said she always knew she wanted to have a career in some aspect in support of athletics. As she was preparing to enter her freshman year at Cal State Long Beach, she read a course description in the school’s bookstore that was “exactly what I wanted to do” — that is, major in kinesiology with a goal of becoming an athletic trainer.”
After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Long Beach State, Swanlund earned a master’s degree in kinesiology and sports administration at Fresno State.
Swanlund served as athletic director at Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo from 2011 to 2015, then decided to start a family and moved to the Fresno area where her husband took a job and Swanlund was a stay-at-home mom.
But now that she’s on board full time — “I always knew that Coast Union had been looking for an athletic trainer off and on” — her husband is a stay-at-home dad taking care of their 2-year-old son so she can tend to the needs of Bronco student athletes.
Asked how it feels to have the job she really wanted, Swanlund said, “It’s good. I hope people realize that what they see now will not be the same four years from now. It takes awhile to build a program,” which means working in a training room that she would “ultimately like it to be.”
She plans in time to acquire equipment and technologies that would allow her to do rehabilitation on campus. Currently the room she works in is rather Spartan, with only basic first aid supplies on hand. (In fact, when the ice machine kicked in during the interview, it was ear-splitting. The interview continued outside, and Swanlund noted that a new pump has been ordered for the ice machine.)
One of Swanlund’s immediate goals is to establish strong relationships with the student athletes, with their parents, and with physicians and other health-related professionals in the community.
When a player asks her what to eat before a game, she suggests, “a well-balanced meal, including carbs, hydrates, proteins, starch and vegetables.”
As to pregame preparation, she only tapes ankles for those athletes who are injured. If a player really wants his or her ankles taped, she recommends the student purchase an ankle brace. “Those will stay tighter longer than tape,” she explained. And moreover, she doesn’t have enough time or enough tape “to tape everybody, including the volleyball team.”
The interview ended with Swanlund emphasizing two things: First, she would like to have students who are not on teams volunteer in assisting her and learning what a trainer does; and, second, she sees how important it is to have good relationships with parents.
“The student athletes are minors, so from a professional standpoint, you need to communicate with parents. They know their kids best.”