Collings settling in as Cottey athletic trainer
First-year Cottey College athletic trainer Tara Collings has quickly made a positive impact on the Comet athletic program.
Collings holds a Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training from Central methodist University, and Masters of Science in Kinesiology. She began her position with Cottey on Aug. 1. Prior to arriving in Nevada, Collings was honing her skills as a member of the Azalea Orthopedics Outreach graduate assistant program, at All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler (Texas).
Collings' expansive duties include injury prevention, injury evaluation, treatment or rehabilitation of injuries, as well as maintaining proper medical documentation for each student-athlete under the Comet athletic umbrella. Additionally, she is responsible for the programming, or devising of workouts appropriate for each the school's five sports — and then teaching those programs to Cottey athletes.
Collings is also on-hand for home and away games.
“My primary focus during games are the athletes for both teams,” Collings said. “Every athletic trainer wants an injury-free game. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. I always strive to give athletes the best health care that I can, by being prepared, and being present — physically and mentally on the sidelines.”
Collings logs long hours, but said her job is rewarding. A regular workday begins at 7 a.m., as Collings guides Cottey athletes though their morning weightlifting routine. That is followed by three hours of optional-treatment for the athletes. Treatment availability resumes later in the afternoon, and includes pre-practice and pre-game taping, stretching, and other modalities the athletes may need — with Collings day typically ending 12 hours after it started.
“My fondest memory at Cottey College so far, is finding my name written on the softball team’s ‘wall of (thanks),’” she said. “(Just) being reminded that what I do is important, and that it does not go unnoticed. And, that I can, and do, impact these young women’s everyday lives.”
Collings detailed her guidelines for maintaining good health.
“Sleep, hydration, and nutrition are important factors in recovery and performance,” she said. “Addressing chronic aches and pains is also important. One of the most frustrating things as a certified athletic trainer — is having an injury that could have been prevented, if properly diagnosed and treated when the athlete first noticed it. Instead of weeks later, when they can no longer perform because it was never addressed.”
Collings, a graduate of Newton-Harris High School in North-Central Missouri, said her parents are her biggest influence.
“They are a constant encouraging support-system,” she said.