An insight into the amazing work of JTCC’s athletic trainer, Karen Merrill:
Something happens in Karen Merrill’s treatment room, sometimes beyond any normal convention of understanding. Players head in there limping, holding their shoulder or wrist, wincing in pain and even shedding a few tears. Then, as if by magic, the same kids leave skipping out of there with big smiles on their faces.
Karen Merrill has been the athletic trainer (”physio”) at JTCC since 2014. Her many degrees include a national certification in cancer wellness, a certification in athletic training (ATC), a Master’s degree in Exercise Science/Sports Medicine and as an LMT (licensed massage therapist).
She has been the assistant athletic trainer at collegiate level and a personal trainer for professional football and tennis players. In addition, she founded her own non-profit organization that provides an exercise program for cancer patients.
Once a player initiates a visit with Karen, she keeps a record for the player and gets to know their strengths and weaknesses. She treats them through their injuries and communicates with the fitness and tennis coaches about their condition and progress. Karen is cautious with the players and will refer them to specialists (i.e., orthopedics and podiatry) when the need arises. She also communicates with the coaches and players when they are travelling for national and international tournaments.
Karen lives by the motto “It is better to prevent than to fix” in designing individualized programs for the players. She understands the repetitive nature/asymmetry of tennis and her goals include providing tools to prevent overuse and maintaining strength/flexibility.
Her array of treatments includes a variety of stretches, moist heat, ice baths, TENS (transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator), cupping and GAME READY Recovery system (uses cold/pneumatic compression to help reduce pain, heal faster and better recovery).
In addition to her official duties, Karen has assumed the role of “Momma Karen”. She is the “go to” person for many of the full time players and those whose families may live in different states or even different countries. She is a familiar face that they can go do to just hang out, get advice, or receive a few words of encouragement.
Whether your child is a beginner or a national level player, Momma Karen is there for you. If you are lucky you may even get a treat from her candy jar!