Football players and coaches weren’t the only specially invited guests at the recent Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas all-star football game in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
South View High School’s Marianna Blount spent the Shrine Bowl week working as a student athletic trainer with the North Carolina team.
A senior at South View, Blount got into athletic training somewhat by accident when she missed out on cheerleader tryouts as a freshman at South View and wanted to find something else to pursue.
Linda Buie, the athletic department secretary at South View, suggested Blount try athletic training, and it didn’t take long for her to get hooked.
“I think the thing that drew me to it was learning new things and getting to meet new people while helping out people in the process,’’ said Blount.
Samantha Colbourne, the staff athletic trainer at South View, said Blount has helped out with just about every sport the school offers in Blount’s four years there.
“She’s learned how to tape kids, watched me assess injuries, watched me do rehab and helped with daily duties like getting water and putting stuff out when we have practice,’’ Colbourne said.
Blount has also been to camps and clinics for student athletic trainers to learn more about skills athletic trainers need.
“She’s very eager to learn,’’ Colbourne said. “She picks up all the skills pretty quick. She’s very personable and always asking questions.” Blount said being chosen to work at the Shrine Bowl was an honor and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
She said her favorite part of the week was joining the coaches and football players for the annual visit to the Shriners Hospital for burned and crippled children in Greenville, South Carolina.
“Seeing the kids, the looks on their faces, they were so excited,’’ she said. “We were able to tour the hospital and meet with them and their parents. It makes your heart feel good, especially with Christmas coming up.
“It was over the top. Amazing.’’
Blount said she got valuable experience being around the certified athletic trainers at the Shrine Bowl, learning taping methods and getting to know the players and coaches.
“The whole thing about the Shrine Bowl is it’s for a good cause,’’ she said. “It makes you feel good to know you are there, making a difference in these kids’ lives. That’s the main goal, to be there and raise money for them. It’s a great feeling to raise money for them to be treated.’’
Photo: Marianna Blount