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The Aquilian

    Meeting the athletic trainers; here to help students

    Ms. Penny pre-game of the WCAC final game for soccer where Gonzaga faced Bishop McNamara.
    By  Oliver Svenburg—

    Gonzaga has a long history of success in sports, but the athletes and coaches are not the only ones putting in the work. Off the scene, Gonzaga employs two athletic trainers, Ms. Penny Lynch, known affectionately as Ms. Penny, and Mr. Kevin Reilly. The training room can sometimes be intimidating for underclassmen, especially when going to a new school full of new people. The training room is meant to be a place for everyone.

    The jobs of Ms. Penny and Mr. Reilly consist of much more than what meets the eye. They are not just there for injuries but much more than that. Mr. Reilly explained the ins and outs of what he and Ms. Penny do.

    “Ms. Penny and I are responsible for the health and safety of all student-athletes at Gonzaga. So that encompasses anything from emergency care to injury diagnosis. Rehab [and] trying to prevent injuries is a big one [as well]. So, that comes down to making sure that everyone gets appropriate care, warm up, all that stuff,” Mr. Reilly said.

    Mr. Reilly watching Gonzaga Basketball in the DC Classic. Photo by Oliver Svenburg

    Their jobs as athletic trainers started somewhere other than Gonzaga. Ms. Penny began to work in the WCAC over two and a half decades ago as an intern for another school, and there just happened to be an opening for Gonzaga; since then she has never looked back. Mr. Reilly, on the other hand, was working around the area doing private training and covering athletic events. 

    “I came to Gonzaga in the spring of 2019. I was working in the area and knew Ms. Penny. She contacted me about the job,” Mr. Reilly explained. 

    With Mr. Reilly being reasonably new and Ms. Penny being more of a veteran, they make a powerhouse team in the training room. They both encourage newcomers, especially underclassmen, to be bold and use the training rooms but to make sure to use the equipment with intent.

    “To take [the training facilities] seriously, don’t come around and just mess around,” Mr. Reilly said. 

    Ms. Penny also offered some words of wisdom. 

    “We are not here to keep you on the bench. We are here to keep you on the field, the court, or whatever, so come in and let us do our job,” Ms. Penny said.

    Ms. Penny invites underclassmen to the training room and be a part of the memories and history Gonzaga sports holds. She explained that they are always looking for more help with the amount of practice in the season.

    “If any kids are out there, freshmen, sophomores, and they are interested in being a student manager or soon athletic trainer, […] just come in and ask,” Ms. Penny said. 

    The trainers are here for the student-athletes so that they can achieve peak performance. Regardless of age, any athlete can come and get some work done or ask questions. Mr. Reilly and Ms. Penny are in the athletic training room from 1:30 p.m. till practice ends, and the Sheridan Performance center, also known as the weight room, is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. or whenever Coach Taylor has an open lift.

    “I just want everybody to feel welcome,” Ms. Penny said.

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