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The Aquilian

Athletic trainer Mr. Kevin Reilly loves helping students succeed

Mr. Kevin Reilly is one of Gonzaga’s athletic trainers. Photo by Enzo Bunag / Photo II student

In February of 2022, Mr. Kevin Reilly helped out then junior Alex Mavris with his shoulder injury from hockey. Wearing his normal attire, khakis or sweatpants and a dri-fit long sleeve, Mr. Reilly was ready to get his hands dirty. Despite a multitude of athletes needing aid, Mr. Reilly always knows how to keep his office space calm and collected. He focused on helping Mavris with his injury because it was the immediate and most important injury at the time. After taping Mavris’s shoulder and putting icy hot around his sore parts, Mavris was ready to go back to work in a moment’s notice.

“He’s always there for me when I need him, and whenever I’m injured, before a game, he always knows what to do in order for me to be able to play and feel 100 percent when playing,” Mavris, senior, said.

Mavris is just one of the many Gonzaga students who have seen Mr. Reilly because of an injury. Mr. Kevin Reilly, an energetic, hardworking and enthusiastic guy, comes to any athlete’s aid whenever someone needs aid or help on or off the sports field. In a game, he is there in a moment’s notice if things turn bad and someone needs help. Mr. Reilly has been an influential person for all the students at Gonzaga and has made relationships with each and every student on Eye Street.

Mr. Reilly started out his career working as an EMT in high school and then was hired by his college’s rugby team to be an EMT for them. Once he was an EMT for his college, he realized that he had to master more skills before being a helpful healthcare provider for athletes. Mr. Reilly went back to school to gain a bachelor’s of sports medicine or athletic training from James Madison University and then received a master’s from East Carolina University. 

“Since receiving my master’s, I’ve then worked at three different hospitals and three different schools,” Mr. Reilly said.

Before working at Gonzaga, he worked at Long Reach High School in Columbia, Md. and Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, Md. as a contractor through different companies. He worked at a hospital up in Lake Placid, N.Y. to work with the Olympic training center and local area teams there. Additionally, Mr. Reilly worked at another school in North Carolina and made his way to the Washington, D.C. area to work at Archbishop Carroll High School, just before joining Gonzaga. 

“Most of the time it was the same thing […]. When I was at the hospital, it was more of a one on one session in the clinic as opposed to in the school where it’s free for all to come in. I like the school better though,” Mr. Reilly said. 

You would think Mr. Reilly finds enjoyment in all the games he’s watched while working at Gonzaga, but his biggest love is seeing athletes succeed and do better. He enjoys it because he sees his work doing justice and wants all of the athletes to succeed in their own field. 

“Being able to help them and then get them back and see them better than before […], then I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Mr. Reilly said.

Mr. Reilly dedicates himself to all the sports teams he works with by connecting with the players on a personal level by interacting with them through casual conversation. He enjoys the football and soccer players in the fall, basketball team in the winter and lacrosse and rugby players in the spring. He does also, however, enjoy working with some of the smaller teams like the track and field team, the baseball team and the swim team because he enjoys getting to know them a bit better. 

“Every sport has its advantages and disadvantages. Each sport carries a very different personality and vibe with the team. So they’re all fun for different reasons,” Mr. Reilly said.

This past year, senior Jalen McDonald played a football game against Bishop McNamara High School; it was his senior night game. While playing in the game McDonald caught a pass and was hit in his lower area. Bleeding all over his gear, his coaches sent him to Mr. Reilly. Mr. Reilly was genuine and respectful towards Jalen and helped him recover as much as he could. 

Although it was a very embarrassing injury to talk about, Kevin acted like it was just another day in the office. His way with words and his sarcastic humor allowed me to kind of think the injury wasn’t a big deal. […] I was told to wear a catheter for the next two weeks, and that marked the end of my senior season. I have been with Kevin a lot this past year, and I think his dry sense of humor has rubbed off on me. I am grateful to have had Kevin as a trainer,” McDonald said. 

Mr. Reilly hasn’t been helping out all these athletes by himself. Gonzaga’s other trainer, Ms. Penny Lynch, has been at Gonzaga for 25 years and has taught Mr. Reilly a lot of what he knows. She has shared valuable experiences and lessons that shaped his perspective of this field helping him to be an all-star in this field. 

“I’m learning a lot from her just in how to manage and deal with certain things that I took for granted when I was younger and by myself. She is a true trailblazer, and she’s really good at making sure that everyone’s best interests are at hand and making sure that you can advocate for other people,” Mr. Reilly said. 

Ms. Penny has been through many long nights with Mr. Reilly as those two are the heart and soul of athletes’ recovery within the athletic fields at Gonzaga. Additionally, Ms. Penny loves to joke around with Mr. Reilly, which keeps things entertaining and lighthearted. 

“Kevin is very rehab oriented […]; that is probably his strong suit. He is very detailed when exposing injuries […]. He got lucky getting him here,” Ms. Penny said.

As Mr. Reilly continues to grow with Ms. Penny’s guidance, he will always be looking out for her and all the athletes he takes care of. Every step he took guided him to be Gonzaga’s trainer, and there is no stopping him from taping up more ankles. 

“I see myself staying with Gonzaga until I retire or they fire me, so I’ll be here for a long time,” Mr. Reilly said.

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