By Thomas Khristenko
From Cleveland, to Atlanta, and all the way to Miami, very few people have had as much traveling with the world’s best athletes as North Royalton High School’s athletic trainer Maggie Flanagan. Not only does she get the loudest ovation out of the student section every time she steps onto the field, but she has gone far and beyond the high school in her career, and has collected many stories along the way.
Q: Where did you start your career as an athletic trainer?
A: I started as a junior student athletic trainer at Holy Name High School, and I went to Ohio University to study athletic training.
Q: Why did you want to become a trainer?
A: When I played sports in high school, there was nobody there to take care of us. The only option was to go to the emergency room. Also, in high school, friends came to me to take care of them when they needed something stretched or taped, so it just kind of came to me.
Q: What are some of the toughest parts about being a trainer?
A: Having to deal with players who don’t want to be hurt, so they lie about their condition to get back on the field. Dealing with season-ending injuries is especially tough.
Q: What are some of your favorite things about being a trainer?
A: The fact that I get to watch sports for a living. Also, I really like it when kids’ injuries get better and when they learn from what I tell them, and their injuries constantly improve because of it.
Q: What were some of the more unique experiences you have had in your career?
A: Working the Atlanta Olympics. Being around and working with world- class athletes was cool.
Q: Describe how it feels when you go out to check on an injury and the entire student section is screaming your name?
A: It’s embarrassing, yet it’s funny and I appreciate it.
Q: You were a trainer for the Olympics; were there any unique events that happened there?
A: One time, I was going to get an athlete ice, and he told me that he had it taken care of, but I got it anyway and he ended up giving me his team pin. Also, while I was working a Tunisia men’s volleyball practice, we were watching the USA game on the TV, and the Tunisia players were not too happy with that, and they started spiking volleyballs at us. It didn’t help them, though, since they were on the plane home before the gold medal match.
Q: Do you have any interesting stories from being a trainer for the Indians?
A: I got to go to Atlanta for the playoffs to watch the games, and also got to travel on the team plane down to Miami for the World Series games and got to watch those, too.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I like to work on pottery. I like to travel, fly fish, and go to concerts.
Q: Tell me about your most interesting concert experience?
A: In college, I had worked a field hockey tournament all day, and my friend invited me to a concert that night, so I went, but I was really tired, so in the middle of the second row I fell asleep during the concert, and the lead singer came down during the concert and was not happy with me.
Maggie Flanagan has traveled around the country doing what she loves and has picked up some great stories along the way, and is sure to pick up many more working right here in North Royalton High School.