JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — It takes plenty of rolls of medical tape to ensure the Faith Academy of Marble Falls football players can compete without thinking of anything other than their assignments.
Lots of tape.
From the linemen whose coach insists they get their ankles and wrists taped to the skill players who need their knees, wrists, and ankles taped, a whole box of tape is located at the makeshift trainers room, which happens to be the school’s weight room.
And the two people responsible for administering the tape job are sophomore athletic trainers Cacey Cozby and Chloe Richardson, who are in their second year of taking care of Flames athletes. But it’s not just tape they’re responsible for.
The washed uniforms? Their job.
Fill the water cans and get ice? That, too.
The jars of peanut butter and jelly and trips to a favorite fast food place for drinks? They’re your drivers.
The medical bags and fanny packs filled with scissors, alcohol, bandages, and other items needed at a moment’s notice, including a towel? That’s part of their wardrobe, and the responsibility falls to them to keep them stocked with everything needed for practices and games.
When a player needs a jersey with a different number so he can play a different position on the field? They’re your clothing experts because they pack the extra jerseys and help the player slip on the new one over the old one.
“It’s very tight,” Cozby said. “It’s like putting on a swimsuit.”
They’ve even packed the kickoff tee for the kicker.
If you need more evidence of their value, consider this: On two different occasions, two players forgot an important piece of their Friday night equipment. One forgot his girdle, which is worn under the pants and has the thigh, hip, backbone, and knee pads, while another simply forgot his pants and remembered as the bus was well clear of campus for an out-of-town game.
Fortunately, the athletic trainers packed extra pairs of pants and an extra girdle, and the players used them despite the fact they might have been too small.
Richardson and Cozby have checklists of items and are responsible for documenting how they’ve assisted a player, including the time and date, to help monitor him.
“I love it,” Richardson said. “It’s satisfying, especially on game days. I love being in charge. I love the responsibility.”
It takes them two days to wash the uniforms and get them ready for the next game. So that process starts early in the week. Thursdays are for team meals, and the two help with that by getting drinks or anything coaches need. The meals also feature someone leading a devotional.
They said new head coach Stephen Shipley is like a second father to them. They especially appreciate how he makes them feel part of the team and ensures players treat them with respect.
“He’s very protective of us with the boys,” Cozby said. “Us being girls, we pick on them. They’re more like a bunch of brothers.”
Cozby is simply carrying on a family tradition she inherited from older sister, Callie, who was a trainer throughout her time at Faith.
“I thought it was really cool,” Cacey said. “I’m really interested in learning about the body. I thought this was a good idea.”
“I knew I always wanted to be in the medical field,” Richardson said. “I wanted to be on the film crew. But when Cacey talked about being a medical trainer, I knew right off the bat (I wanted to be an athletic trainer).”
The two have attended a camp for sports medicine at Texas A&M University, where they’ve learned what to look for in various situations and especially what not to do.
“If we start freaking out,” Richardson said.
“They’re going to start freaking out,” Cozby finished.
“So we practice that at camp,” Richardson continued.
What inspires them is seeing the love of the sport from the players, they said.
“I get inspired seeing the team all together before the game,” Cozby said. “I haven’t thought of anything else (as a career). This is what I want to do.”