High school athletics are high level competition. As such, athletes are subject to injuries. To ensure that athletes avoid these injuries, or heal quickly when they do get injured, Todd Hirsch, Athletic Trainer, is on the job. Hirsch can be seen on site at home games on the sidelines, watching every play, and caring about Highlander athletes like they are his own children.
Hirsch has been employed by Berkeley Height Public Schools for 13 years. Before coming to work up on the hill, Hirsch was an Athletic Trainer in Rockland County, New York for eight years. He also attended to athletes at University of Massachusetts Amherst for two years prior to that. While a student at University of Kansas for undergrad, Hirsch worked with athletic teams on campus to train for what would become his career.
Hirsch was a high school athlete who had suffered numerous injuries himself, leading to the inevitable trip to his own athletic trainer. His relationship with his trainer grew stronger and he soon became interested in this line of work. In his freshman year at the University of Kansas, he switched his major to Sports Medicine and has never looked back since. Hirsch said, “It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
A typical day for Hirsch starts with arriving at school just before lunch to get ready for treatments during athletes’ breaks during the day. Lunchtime treatments are quite common, but many students also speak with Hirsch immediately before games or practices. At that point, he concentrates on pre-practice and pre-game taping and treatments.
His attendance at most home games and on site during practices, both during the week and on weekends, keeps Hirsch at the school well after his co-workers have gone home. Hirsch said, “The toughest part about being an AT is the hours are often inconvenient and change quite often depending on the week and time of year.” Still, Hirsch loves his job. Unable to identify a standout Highlander sports moment, Hirsch said, “There are too many to pick from, as there have been some great kids as well as fun teams to watch.”
Hirsch’s favorite part of the job is working with high school athletes and watching them grow not only as athletes but as people in the world as well. Hirsch says, “I love catching up with former athletes and seeing what they have done with their future.” He hopes more will come back and visit soon.
Junior Emma Priore, a field hockey and lacrosse player, described Todd, the name all the students refer to him as, “The guy who always has your best interest and wants to keep the athletes healthy as much as possible.”
Although his main job is to keep his student-athletes healthy, the most important task in his eyes is keeping them happy and eager to get better in the athletic events they participate in.