Athletic Trainers at Glenbard West are on the Clock Every Day

West’s trainers share why it their job is so important to them and others.


Asher Riley

(From left to right) Jen Bednarek, Heather Jenkins, and Alli Jones pose for a picture at a Glenbard West football game.

As a Glenbard West athletic trainer, simple events like practices can turn south quickly.  Here at West, our trainers are constantly on call, ready and waiting for the unpredictable.  With hundreds of athletes and only three West trainers, it makes it very difficult to be everywhere they are needed.

“There are anywhere from 750-800 fall athletes,” athletic trainer Alli Jones notes.

It can be a lot sometimes, our trainers will admit, but it’s all about getting the players one hundred percent ready to return better than before.

“The most rewarding part is getting a kid back on the field [and] watching them play again,” says Jen Bednarek, an athletic trainer of ten years as well as a health teacher at Glenbard West.  Of course, she admits, there are also times of frustration that come with the job, including “watching [athletes] struggle.”

Bednarek adds, “I’ve seen the worst side of this.  I’ve seen kids that have had concussions that don’t return ever to sports, and I’ve had kids here the last ten years that couldn’t come back to normal school.  Watching that is frustrating.”

Senior Jack Fiegl suffered an ACL tear in his right knee last year and had been rehabilitating with the training staff as well as at Athletico’s Wheaton location.  “[The West trainers] are very often around and available.  They are very easy to work with and I am one hundred percent comfortable with going to them for help,” he Fiegl.

Bednarek, whom many students and student athletes know as Ms. B., works closely with fellow trainers Jones and Heather Jenkins.

The school has been contracting with Athletico for at least ten years, responded Assistant Principal of Athletics, Joe Kain, via email.  Jones, a trainer of eleven years, and Jenkins, herself of two years, are both outreach trainers through Athletico.  And neither are short on impressive experiences.

Jenkins has worked with Downers Grove South High School in addition to her time at Glenbard West, All-star Cheer and Dance, and ten years with the Olympic Development Program for Region 2 Youth Soccer.

Jones has worked as an EMT as well as spending five years working in the emergency room.  She also lists the ER as one reason she took up athletic training. “I kept getting an influx of patients that would come in and go away and I would never know what happened to them. So I kind of like that continuum of care.  I wanted to see what happened next,” Jones said.

All three of our trainers have backgrounds in playing athletics and all cite injuries in their respective sports as sparking their interest in athletic training.  

“I was in and out of the training room all the time — they knew me by name, so obviously you get accustomed to what they’re doing and you get interested,” Jones says.

“I believe our trainers do an extraordinary job managing the needs of our student athletes, adjusting for the various facilities that we play and practice at, and also being knowledgeable of their craft,” states Kain.

Lately there has been a large influx of student athletes who have been coming in for treatment, advice, or rehabilitation and it has created a slight issue in functionality of the training room.

“There’s a lot of athletes that come in and just stand there and wait for direction and there’s some that they come in and get right to their exercises,” Jones explains.

Jenkins, then simplified it to the specific area for improvement with some athletes explaining,  “Being proactive and knowing what [student athletes] need to be doing [helps] limit their time in the athletic training room and [gets them] out to practice as soon as possible.”