The unsung heroes of the fall sports season


North Penn Athletic Trainer Michael Burke making sure t follow COVID guidelines by wearing a mask and sanitizing equipment

TOWAMENCIN: 3:15 pm: time to health screen the soccer team. 3:25 pm: time to health screen the field hockey team. 3:45 pm: time to health screen the football team. With so many demands and so little time, athletic trainers, Michael Burke and Melissa Rosenberger took on the 2020 fall season side by side.

It was a busy fall for “Mr. B” and “Ms. R.” Having to be at the high school every day of the week to monitor the athletes of North Penn has always been what they have been known for, however, the Coronavirus has impacted their jobs tremendously.

“We have to make sure that everything is planned out before the day begins so we can be as efficient as possible,” Rosenberger said.

In addition to their usual responsibilities such as rehabilitating injured athletes, providing ice, and medical assistance to all North Penn sports teams, they have been forced to revise their normalcy in an effort to keep North Penn Covid free.

Sanitizing equipment after and before every use, sanitizing the bleachers that fans are now allowed to use, and providing hand sanitizer to all athletes before and after practice are just a few modifications they have made. In addition to these efforts, they must give regular health screens before every practice which consists of a temperature check, and a series of questions regarding Covid.

“Our schedule is usually very busy because of the number of teams and athletes we have, but now with screening and disinfecting, we are even busier,” Burke said.

Do you have a cough? Do you have a fever? Do you have a sore throat? Have you been in contact with or care for someone with Covid-19? Are just a few questions they must ask the athletes as they arrive at practice.

MIke Burke (L) and Melissa Rosenberger (C) stand with NPHS Principal Pete Nicholson (R) on the sidelines for a NP football game in October. (Photo courtesy of The Twelfth Knight Facebook page )

What most people may not realize is the fact that there are currently 7 sports that they are managing simultaneously, which seems hardly possible, however, not for Mr. B and Mrs. R.

“We split all of our tasks daily. We will usually look at the schedule and decide which teams we will each screen based on where they are on campus and the time they are arriving,” Burke said.

With their jobs complicated enough, Mr. B and Mrs. R have had a busy start to the year, to say the least. Anxious to get back in the building to better and fully use the school’s facilities and training room will hopefully make the matter easier, however, until then, they are stuck carting around all of their medical equipment from team to team, constantly on standby.

The efforts of Burke and Rosenberger are far from unnoticed, as they work tirelessly to keep North Penn athletics healthy. With fall sports now over and winter sports starting up, they are in full force, effectively monitoring the athletes, spectators, and coaches to the best of their abilities.