Riverside Academy’s Trahan wins Trainer of the Year award

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, June 14, 2017

RESERVE — The days Ryan Trahan has nothing to do are the good ones.

The other days, he relies on his training then hopes and prays he makes the right decisions.

Trahan is the athletic trainer at Riverside Academy, the man responsible for the health and well being of the school’s athletes.

He’s the guy who tapes ankles, wrists, knees and elbows. He’s the  guy who runs on the field or the court when an athlete goes down. He assesses the injury.

Then, he’s the guy who says whether or not he or she can play.

That can be the tough part.

“You pray you make the right decision that somebody’s looking down on you to help you out,” said Trahan, who is assigned to Riverside Academy through the Thibodaux Regional Medical Center’s Sports Medicine outreach program. “It’s tough calls. You have to be confident in what you’re doing. Whether you’re right or wrong, you have to make the best decisions for your athletes. I’m here to make sure this kid has a future beyond high school athletics.”

He obviously is doing it right.

Trahan was named the Clinic Outreach Athletic Trainer of the Year by the Louisiana Athletic Trainers Association last week for his “tireless commitment of the highest level for service and care” to the athletes under his supervision.

Ryan Trahan of the Sports Medicine Center at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center receives the Clinic Outreach Athletic Trainer of the Year award from Scott Arceneaux, president of the Louisiana Athletic Trainers Association.

“It’s an honor,” Trahan said. “I’m just thankful to everyone who taught me, mentored me and helped me along the way.”

A native of Houma, Trahan is a former South Terrebonne High athlete. He was a student at Nicholls State University when a talk with a counselor led him to his career.

“I was looking at some type of medical field,” he said. “I went in one day to talk to one of the counselors and he was in charge of the outreach program. Wanting to be in sports and wanting to be in the medical field, this just kind of came together.”

Trahan was assigned to Riverside Academy staff in 2012 under then-coach Bill Stubbs.

Chris Lachney, the former assistant who took over for Stubbs this year, said he is thankful every day for Trahan’s expertise.

“Ryan is one of the most valuable assets that we have in our entire athletic department,” Lachney said.

“He’s just as important as any assistant coach we have, coordinator or play caller. The role he does for us is vital to our success and, what’s unique about his situation is, no one ever acknowledges what he does. If we score 40 points a game, everybody looks to the offensive coordinator and says ‘great job.’ No one ever says, ‘Wow. Four kids wouldn’t have played this week had it not been for the rehab that our athletic trainer did for us.’ And that’s as vital as anything. If the wrong four kids can’t play this week, we’re done. Talk about worth his weight in gold.”

Trahan has to rely on his training when a player is on the ground, writhing in pain. Those are the easy ones, though.

“I’m very comfortable if a person is lying there and can’t move or something,” he said. “I’m comfortable in that setting. I know what to do: bring in a spine board and send them to the hospital. There’s lots of extenuating circumstances in that. The signs are there to help you make those decisions.”

Then there are the cases where Trahan just has to do what he feels is right, as in the case of Garland Robertson, who suffered a neck fracture during the 2015 season and returned to play both basketball and football in 2016-17.

After taking a hit that left him motionless for a few moments, Robertson walked off the field and insisted to Trahan he was fine.

In the locker room at halftime, Robertson couldn’t take his pads off.

“He ran off the field,” Trahan said.

“He jumped up and down. He was moving around saying, ‘I’m good to go. I can play.’ I’m thankful every day that we were on offense for a longer period of time and I was able to hold him out and look at him. Then we got him inside and he was saying things that just didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

“You get gut feelings and instincts, but I’m not even going to say that’s what I had. I’m going to say that I was very fortunate.”