Published 12:00 am Monday, April 6, 1998

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / April 6, 1998

RESERVE – Dec. 21, 1997.The Detroit Lions are playing the New York Jets in the final week of the NFL season with playoff berths on the line. History is also on the line asDetroit running back Barry Sanders is trying to become the third player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in the season.

But for one intense 16-minute period during the game, something much more important is on the line – a player’s life.

Detroit linebacker has just made a tackle in the fourth quarter, but unlike hundreds of other times during his career, he is not getting up from this one. Brown is unconscious and not breathing. Trainers and medicalpersonnel from both teams rush onto the field, applying mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in a desperate attempt to get Brown breathing gain.

Oxygen is applied and minutes later, Brown is wheeled into an ambulance and taken to a local hospital. Weeks later, Brown would walk into a pressconference wearing a “halo” brace, a testament to the life-saving work of the too-often unsung trainers and medical personnel.

Too often a trainer’s work is overlooked. But its is they who oftendetermine the difference between a player missing a game or the season or even between life and death.

“It takes someone who is not looking for the spotlight, whose main goal and obligation is to the team,” Ross Miano, who has served as a trainer at Riverside Academy, said. “Someone who does a job well and doing thatmakes them feel good inside.” Fitting that description is one of Miano’s former students, Lisa Waguespack. Waguespack has served as a trainer at Riverside for the pastthree years and was recently selected as a student trainer for the Louisiana High School Coaches Association All-Star volleyball, football and girls basketball festivities the week of July 19-24.

Waguespack got started in sports training in her sophomore year when she fractured her back as a member of the dance team. Miano, Waguespack’sphysical science teacher, asked her if she wanted to be a trainer for the football team and showed her the aspects of the field – how to tape, how to work with sprains and broken bones and how to act in emergencies.

“I have to give credit to Mr. Miano,” Waguespack said. “He was the one whogot me into it.”During Waguespack’s junior year, Miano took her and a friend, Rene Trosclair, to Tulane University to study at its Student Trainer Clinic.

There, they learn how to tape better and faster, how to stabilize players and how to take care of the body. They also got the opportunity to train ata Green Wave game that season.

“It is something I wouldn’t mind doing again,” Waguespack said.

Waguespack has also volunteered at the Radiology Department at River Parishes Hospital in order to learn more about the body and how it works.

Waguespack also studied under Cary Berthelot, a Riverside graduate who became a certified trainer at Southeastern Louisiana University and served as Riverside’s trainer this past season.

Berthelot took Waguespack to the SLU campus and showed her how the training room there was set up and show to set one up like it at Riverside.

Waguespack saw her share of cases this past season, everything from broken ankles and arms to two cases of heat exhaustion. The latter wasespecially serious because if the trainers had panicked, a bad situation could have been much worse.

Injuries like that have always touched Waguespack’s heart and were one reason why she got interested in training.

“I was always interested in how injuries happened,” Waguespack said. “Myheart goes out to anyone who gets injured. I want to help them get betterand feel better and prevent injuries from happening.”Waguespack, a senior, plans on attending SLU next year and majoring in athletic training with a minor in business education.

“I want to teach and take care of players’ injuries,” Waguespack said. “Iwant to help them realize their dreams in both.”Miano said having someone like Waguespack made his job as trainer easier.

“If I didn’t have Lisa, my job would be much more difficult,” Miano said.

“She is dependable, reliable and knew what to do anytime. She was anexample of fine upbringing. If I had a daughter, I would want her to be likethat.”

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