HomeBlocksFront-GridGCC Athletic Trainers Receive Special Recognition

GCC Athletic Trainers Receive Special Recognition

It’s game day at Glendale Community College and the training room is buzzing with activity as student-athletes are getting treatment and the trainers are getting ready for games at home or on the road.
Like the GCC athletes, the trainers round up their gear, such as water bottles, tape and a portable table for on-site treatment. For decades they worked out of less than modern facilities, but the opening of the new Kinesiology and Athletic Facility in June 2022 changed things for the better.
The doors are now open to the Glendale College Athletic Training Room and while the new facility offers a spacious and inviting area for GCC student-athletes and others to get treatment, the obvious amenities include more training tables and whirlpools, an extra ice machine and offices for the trainers as well.
What is still a constant is the extraordinary treatment given by trainers Jose Gomez, Melissa Ramos and Claudia Orejuela, who is nearing her 22nd anniversary on the job for the school where she competed as a student-athlete in women’s basketball and soccer from 1996-98.
While the 16 Glendale teams and more than 300 student-athletes resplendent in cardinal and gold represent the Vaqueros on the field, it is the trainers strategically standing by to aid them in their efforts to compete at the highest levels possible at every game during the fall, winter and spring and during office hours whenever necessary.
For Orejuela herself, she is not only grateful to be working at her alma mater but mindful of the role she plays as a role model and mentor. “I see a lot of myself in the athletes and I try to help them through not only what ails them but whatever issues they have,” she said. “The reality is that Jose Gomez played that role for me as a student-athlete when he was our only trainer and I know athletes, especially the women, are looking at what I’m doing as a pathway to working in athletics and that means a lot to me.”
Orejuela is proud to have roots with the Vaqs as a student-athlete, including playing on the first women’s soccer team in school history for current coach Jorge Mena and playing women’s basketball as well for Glendale.
But nothing had prepared the trainers for what they had to go through during the pandemic when daily COVID-19 testing was required to have the athletes practice outdoors. No inside activities were allowed during those times but wearing masks and constant testing was a small price to pay for the GCC student-athletes to be practicing as a group.
One former student-athlete, Haley Tsarofski, shared some personal comments about the trainer who was a soccer player like herself for GCC and was a mentor for her on her career path.
“Claudia has always been very confident as a trainer and I knew I could trust her with my health and that she had my best interests in mind when we discussed treatment and what I should do and not do in order to get back on the field,” she said.
“But she didn’t just influence me as an athlete as I worked by her side for a semester doing my clinical hours in the Athletic Training Program at CSUN. I could not have asked for a better mentor as she helped me put my studies to use in a training environment. She was always someone I looked up to and wanted to be like when I ‘grew up’ and I couldn’t be more grateful that I was able to work so closely with her and see the amount of effort she puts into her career.”

First published in the April 1 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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