Most athletes at Berkeley High School (BHS) are familiar with Lauren Small. Spectators at BHS sporting events may have seen her on the sidelines helping athletes with injuries or keeping them fit for a match. She has been working at BHS as an Athletic Trainer since 2014, and at Children’s Hospital Oakland since 2012. In most states, laws require each high school to have a licensed athletic trainer on site, and BHS has a contract through Children’s. According to Small, she is “a full-time employee of Children’s Hospital, but half of [her] job is to be the athletic trainer at Berkeley High.”
Small works in conjunction with BHS coaches to ensure all their players are safe and remain healthy. She is also often the first resource an injured athlete will go to. “Since I am on campus, I will often see injured athletes more than their doctor or physical therapist can,” Small said. Having Small on campus is essential to many BHS athletes. “I like being able to be the person at their high school that they can come to for their injuries and help them successfully get back to their chosen sport,” she said.
Small first became interested in sports medicine in high school when she took a class on the subject. She moved on to study it in college and take the national certification exam, opening the door to working “with a lot of different types of athletes, from youth to professional sports.”
Small has been an essential resource to many BHS athletes who suffered injuries on the field. Senior lacrosse player John McDonell went to Small last year with a torn ACL. She helped him with rehabilitation and conditioning to speed up the healing process. “I’d probably be playing in an unsustainable condition and would suffer continued injury as a consequence,” McDonell said. Having Small readily available on campus can be very important for athletes that need a regular analysis of their condition or advice on their rehabilitation. Small “allows student athletes to be educated and aware of the needs of their body,” said McDonell.
Whether it’s an on-field emergency, or just some fine tuning before a big game, Small is there for BHS athletes.