INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Because the vast majority of students at St Ed’s participate in at least one sport, the administration has adopted an important proactive stance to address the inevitability that injuries will occur at practices and in games.
For three years now, anyone who had the misfortune of sustaining an injury was likely treated by Lisa Wells.
She has become an indispensable part of the sports and academic culture on campus, so much so that her status was upgraded this year to a full-time member of the faculty.
Head of School Mike Mersky issued a statement explaining the decision: “Lisa Wells is a consummate professional who has earned her way at St. Edward’s School as a part time athletic trainer. It was our decision to hire Lisa full-time for the sake of the safety of our student athletes in our mission to build an athletic program of which all in our school community and the greater region could be proud.”
In her new capacity, Wells teaches 6th grade physical education and 10th through 12th grade cross-training.
She officially became an assistant coach for the girls weightlifting team.
“I try to get involved with every team as much as I can,” Wells told us. “The kids know I’m there and I want them to feel comfortable coming to me.”
Due to the enhanced probability of injuries occurring in football and soccer, Wells considers herself a member of the staff for those sports in particular.
So do the coaches.
“Lisa has been fantastic,” boys soccer coach Bill Keating said. “We are fortunate to have her. She is aware of the athletic mentality and candid about the readiness of an (injured) athlete.”
Keating’s team was beset with a rash of injuries earlier this season.
Senior Class President and soccer co-captain Jon Alerte was in the training room one day being treated for a “nagging hamstring injury.”
“I honestly can’t remember how many times I’ve been in here, probably every other week (with past ankle sprains),” he said. “She’s always available and nurses my injuries to perfection.” Most of the injuries so far this year have been minor in that little time was lost.
There were no season-ending injuries in football, or in soccer to date.
Wells attributes the good fortune during the football season to a strength and condition regimen implemented by the coaches.
“We had a few ankle sprains and mild knee conditions, situations I could manage, ” she said. “Staying in shape year round can cut injuries dramatically.”
She also is a very strong advocate – and instructor – of stretching: “I tell everyone that improved flexibility can help prevent injuries.” In such a dynamic field, Wells deals with matters ranging from supplement use to the taping and icing of sore body parts.
Last September Wells earned certification as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. She is also a Certified Athletic Trainer, Licensed Florida Athletic Trainer and Health Fitness Instructor.
At 27, born and raised in Vero Beach and a graduate of VBHS, Wells expressed gratitude for the commitment made to her by St. Edward’s.
“It means they trust and respect me,” she said, “and they feel I’m doing a good job. That means a lot to me.”