‘She has all the answers’

In third year, athletic trainer has won fans in coaches and students


Athletic trainer Angie Purchio addresses an injury on the football field.

Laura Heffernan, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Unnoticed along the long line of sports lockers, Branham’s athletic trainer, Angie Purchio, works out of a small office, helping the athletes that come in and out as they get ready for practice.

Right after school in late October, a swarm of football players can be seen outside of the office. One by one, Purchio calls athletes in to tape up an ankle or start them on rehab exercises.

The path Purchio took to her career is one that requires years of dedication. Receiving a degree in kinesiology, Purchio went through undergraduate studies at CSU-Monterey Bay, in addition to post-graduate studies at Weber State University. Both schools allowed Purchio the chance to work in hands-on environments.

She credits a friend of hers already in the athletic training program for introducing her to the job. Her first job was through an internship at CSUMB.

“I fell in love with it,” she said. “As soon as I started doing it I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

Purchio says that she still learns through working at Branham for the past three years and gaining new experience.

“You see certain things that happen on a field, but the way they say it in a book, it happens completely different. It’s never by the book.” said Purchio. “You take the knowledge that you have and you apply it to the situation.”

In certain situations, a torn ACL could be ruled out as an injury an athlete has while imaging can show that there is actually a tear. Purchio said that if she went by the book every time then she would be missing answers.

If an athlete picks up an injury, Purchio communicates with the coaches the progress of the student and supervises the recovery period. This time could include Purchio getting an athlete ice or helping with different exercises targeted
at specific injuries, such as ankle sprains or head injuries both of which are common in most sports.

“Angie is amazing.” said senior Luke Sayre, who suffered a knee injury last year, which required frequent trips to Purchio’s office. “She’s always there to tape me up or give me ice after school. … She’s always asking questions, making sure everything is fine.”

To Purchio, what makes the job worth it is building strong relationships with athletes she works with, getting them back on the field and watching them be successful.

“It makes me love coming to work when they want to get better and they want to do better.” said Purchio. “Obviously they’re in my room, but I don’t want them here. I want them out on the field. I want them healthy.”

When she’s not working on injury reports, Purchio said that her goal is to getting athletes ready for practice, taping up athletes and getting ice and water ready to be sent out to the teams. Much of what is done before practice is done to prevent further injury.

Athletic director Landon Jacobs has noticed a positive change in athlete performance since Purchio was hired. Her full-time status has helped lower injuries among athletes.

“Now that we have her here five days a week she can do more preventative things to make sure our athletes aren’t getting hurt and treating them after the fact,” Jacobs said. “It’s been a huge difference in terms of the communication between her and our coaches so they know what’s going on with athletes.”

Purchio also assists in preparation for situations in which 911 has to be contacted. In or- der to prepare, several times each sports season, Purchio makes rounds to all teams for an emer- gency protocol drill. Purchio says that everyone knowing protocol reduces delay during an emergency, so she can start assessing an athlete as soon as she arrives to a scene.

Knowing the support and communication that Purchio provides to them, coaches can focus on running the practices and not having as much stress over what will happen if an athlete does get injured. She has gained the trust and loyalty
of coaches.

“She’s really thorough in what she does and she communicates extremely well,” said Stephen Johnson, head varsity football coach. “I don’t know how much harder my job would be if she wasn’t here. … She has all the answers.”

Purchio said she is always planning what she will do in the case of any event, no matter how extreme. The planning that goes into Purchio’s job takes many hours sometimes causing her to stay on campus extra hours at night.

“It’s a lot of work, a lot of hours,” said Purchio. “But I wouldn’t change it for the world.”