National Athletic Training Month is held every March to spread awareness about the important work of athletic trainers. Our head trainers at Martin work hard every day and are hands on with our athletes. Let’s take a moment to get to know them.
Joey Peña is finishing up his second year at Martin. He is from Royse City, Texas and played football growing up. He earned his degree from The University of Texas at Arlington before starting his athletic training career. When asked how he got into athletic training, Peña said, “I got into athletic training because I love helping people and my love for sports. So when you put the two together you get athletic training. Most of my friends and family think I am crazy because of the amount of hours we work. My grandfather once told me to ‘find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life’, and that is how I feel about my job. I have also had a lot of great mentors along the way; even AISD’s own Steve Guadalupe and Audrey Ross have been great mentors. I have been blessed to have witnessed their program and how they care for their athletes. They have both helped me in my young career and have been great role models to the district and profession. There are other greats (Doc at SGP, Ms. Traci Summit, Gina at UTA; the list could go on forever) that I’ve had the privilege to work under. It has driven me into this profession, and it’s what keeps me going. I will admit it takes a special person to become an athletic trainer.” Peña went on to say, “By far the best part of my job is when an athlete who has been battling an injury, whether minor or major, comes running to me after they make a huge play to tell me thank you for helping them through their rehab. I always tell them no, thank you, because without you (the athlete) I wouldn’t have a job. I like that I have a chance to influence the future generations in a positive way as well. The relationships you build with the kids and how much of an impact you make on them because you show them you care is another great part of my job. The kids don’t realize how much of an impact they make on our lives too.”
Michelle Boyko has been at Martin for three years. She grew up in San Louis Obispo, California. She earned her undergrad from Fresno State where she also ran cross country before going on to get her Master’s at Fresno Pacific University. Boyko said, “I got into athletic training while working at a physical therapy clinic. I started working at the clinic and fell in love with that kind of work. I had asked my athletic trainer why she chose athletic trainer over physical therapy, and she said she enjoyed pushing the athletes and getting them back on the field as opposed to maintaining patient care that dominates PT. I loved that idea and that is why I chose athletic training.” We also asked Boyko what her favorite part about athletic training is, and she said, “I love getting athletes back in the game, helping them gain confidence, strength, and mental ability. When an athlete gets hurt, they have so many questions, concerns, and frustrations. I love helping athletes work through all of those problems and let them know that it will be okay. I like to push the athletes to the limits and to the ability I know they have, but they may be struggling to see it. I love watching them play with heart and determination. And I love knowing I have the ability and knowledge to save an athlete if I ever had to. I got close to it once and having that knowledge is meaningful because knowing that I have that knowledge and skill set to save a life means the world to me.”