Maria Thompson, LAT
I am from Pharr, graduated from PSJA High school in 1979 when there was only one high school. Went to Pan American University and graduated in 1984 and am a Licensed Athletic Trainer.
I currently work in La Joya at La Joya High School and am involved with the American Red Cross.
I have been an athletic trainer for 34 years.
How/when did you become interested in the field of Athletic Training?
I became an interested in the field of athletic training my sophomore year of high school. As an athlete I noticed that the athletic trainer at my school did not care for the female athletes, this pissed me off and I said this will never happen again. The following year I begin to learn the very basic of athletic training while still an athlete. In college I just walked into the athletic training room and stated I wanted to be an athletic trainer, I was tested on some basic taping skills and then the rest is history.
What drives you to do your job?
Knowing that I will be able to help someone every day is what drives me in this job. There is never a dull moment and always get to have front row seating at all games. I am still learning new skills in this profession.
Has Athletic Training provided you an opportunity to travel, either in or out of country? What is
your favorite memory from this experience?
I have worked with Nolan Ryan and his children, and with Domenique Moceanu and the entire 1996 Olympic Gymnastics Team. It was an awesome experience working with these athletes. I've worked the Houston Marathon with a number of elite runners from around the world. I've work a mini grand pre car race and this was a different experience from any thing I've ever worked.
Do you have any advice for other ATs or students contemplating a career in Athletic Training?
If you are contemplating a career in athletic training the advice I can give you is love it with all your heart and soul. It is not an easy job and the hours are long but the satiation of knowing you are helping an athlete is the best reward in the world.