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New athletic trainer gives Archie Williams hope for athletic department

Kyra Featherstone
Maryah Cohen works on junior Logan Burke’s arm after intense baseball practice.

Archie Williams spring sports are in full swing which brings intense competition and unfortunate injuries to campus. Former Archie Williams athletic trainer Henry Heller resigned in early February, leaving the spring sports community without a trainer for two months. Archie Williams has been fortunate enough to have an athletic trainer available as a resource for student-athletes who, throughout the past year, relied on him to ice injuries, tape injured muscles and much more. 

Archie Williams junior Mari Rode has played on the varsity girls soccer team for three years. At the beginning of the winter season, Mari took a brutal fall and tore her ACL. She felt that Heller played a crucial role in keeping her healthy within the week before her surgery. 

“Henry was very crucial in my rehab. Even before finding out about my ACL injury, just a few days after I tore it, he helped me get the game ready. He got my knee swelling down, and also gave me exercises to do to keep my knee flexible and not stiff, and after finding out that I actually tore my ACL, he helped me gain muscle in my quads,” Mari said. 

Heller decided to step down from his job as the Falcons’ athletic trainer to pursue his dream of becoming an athletic trainer for a Major League Baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Many students felt his absence and missed his constant presence. 

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Archie Williams senior Tessa Miller has played varsity soccer for four years. She often visited Heller in the weight room.

“This season Henry was really supportive, he would wrap my ankle before every practice and every game. I also feel like he’s unique in the fact that he really cared about athletes’ mental health apart from just their physical health,” Tessa said.

Archie Williams Athletic Director Jett Russell helped the school search for a new trainer, but MarinHealth is responsible for hiring a trainer for each school within the Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD). 

During games and sporting events, TUHSD schools usually have a trainer on-site, accessible for students with current injuries, or injuries that may occur during a game. While having a trainer is optimal, Archie Williams coaches complete eight athlete safety courses to be properly equipped in case of an emergency. 

“All of our coaches are CPR first aid, AED-trained. They also have concussion and heat illness prevention training,” Russell said.

After not having a trainer for the past few months, MarinHealth finally found one to accommodate the student-athletes at Archie Williams. The Falcon family welcomed a new athletic trainer, Maryah Cohen, in April. 

Cohen has worked as an athletic trainer at the collegiate level at California State University, San Bernardino. She has also worked in the performing arts and served as the athletic trainer for stunt doubles for the TV show All American. She held the position of head athletic trainer for Frito-Lay and Gallo Winery but spent most of her time working as the interim athletic trainer at Mills High School in Millbrae California. 

“My primary goal for the rest of the year is to get to know the student-athletes, coaches, and administration at Archie Williams and build lasting relationships. As a healthcare professional, I’m big on getting to know people, because it establishes a foundation of trust,” Cohen said. 

Cohen brings a new program to Archie Williams, focusing on teaching students how to care for their own bodies, and aims to expand the athletic training program. She will allow student internships and wants to reach those interested in physical therapy.

“The program that I would like to create is student-focused and student-driven. Athletic training, as a profession is multifaceted and requires a broad knowledge of many different disciplines, so I want students to feel that they approach me with any questions or concerns. I hope to teach students that athletic trainers are healthcare professionals who can do more than tape ankles and make water jugs and ice packs,” Cohen said. 

With Cohen’s presence on campus, Falcon student-athletes now have someone to turn to when injury occurs. With the absence of Heller, students lost support and advice from an individual trained in that field, but Cohen brings in a new beam of light. 

“To the students that I have met, thank you for the kind welcome. To the students I haven’t met yet, I look forward to meeting you. Please always feel comfortable stopping by the athletic training room and saying hi or asking for help,” Cohen said. 

This story was originally published on The Pitch on May 1, 2024.