Student trainer benefits from opportunity to work with pro team

With so many choices and possibilities after high school, it is easy to become lost. It may be hard to set life goals and do what is necessary to achieve them in high school. For senior Matt Walker, the path is clear.

Matt plans to pursue athletic training and work as a trainer for the NFL when he graduates. Last November Matt worked with the Buffalo Bills in Houston, and that experience in athletic training helped him see what it is like to train in a professional environment.

“I was on the sidelines for the entire game,” Matt said. “I helped them warm up and got them water, and I helped them set up and clean up the locker room.”

He also interacted with many famous players during the game, making it a lasting memory.

“It was kind of surreal,” Matt said. “At one point I was just swapping jokes with one of the fields, and all of a sudden he turned around I looked at him and said, ‘[No way], that’s Mario Williams’.”

BHS trainer Doc Woodall allowed Matt this experience to keep him driven, motivated, and prepared for the future.

“Being able to meet people that work at that level in the NFL on a day-to-day basis, and being able to experience that firsthand was a very positive experience for him,” Woodall said.

Woodall and other coaches have helped Matt mentally prepare to work with the NFL by giving him opportunities such as working at the Bills game.

“We’re very fortunate that we have relationships not only with college athletic trainers, but also professional athletic trainers and we’re able to help our students understand the process that it takes to get involved at different levels of athletic training,” Woodall said.

Matt played football in ninth grade, but an injury sidelined him, making him realize that training was for him.

“Athletic training would be a cool career because you’re getting paid to be on the sidelines of sporting events,” Matt said. “It combines medicine and sports, both of which I am a big fan of, so it seemed like the career to go into.”

Matt is flexible with his schedule and responsible, two qualities that make a good trainer.

“Good time management skills both are important to athletic trainers, being able to multitask and manage different responsibilities,” Woodall said.

Although training takes time and effort, it also comes with many benefits such as meeting new people.

“I have a lot of friends on a lot of teams,” Matt said. “I am working with girls soccer right now, that’s fun. I get to get out of school early sometimes and that’s always a kick, and it is a great time hanging out with the team.”

Although Matt will graduate soon, he will take many good memories with him of his time training at Bryan High.

“Copperas Cove was here, in my sophomore year, and they were supposed to win by a ton,” Matt said. “We were massive underdogs, and we ended up surprising them and beating them. That was a crazy moment, it was cool to be there with the team during that.”

Matt has been working toward his goal to work with the NFL by preparing himself to go to college.

“Matt’s been able to help himself be successful by really developing an understanding of not only the aspect of athletic training from a student perspective, but also from a professional’s perspective,” Woodall said. “That way, he’s prepared later on to understand what he is going to have to be able to do to be successful.”

Woodall knows Matt will continue to do well. Matt is living up to his expectations, having a plan laid out, culminating in working for the NFL.

“I’ve been accepted into Texas A&M and plan to be an athletic trainer with them,” Matt said. “I plan to graduate with a Bachelors degree in kinesiology. I am then hoping to go to Canisius College in Buffalo, New York and earn a bachelors degree in athletic training.”