This last week, Mary Persons welcomed Sean Boland as its new head athletic trainer. Boland is a Monroe County native who graduated from Mary Persons in 2003. He initially moved here from Germany, where he had lived for 6 years.
“I’m an army brat. My dad did 23 years in the army and we moved back to the US when I was in 6th grade.” While living abroad, Boland discovered a love for soccer. After moving here, he and his family helped inspire Billy Lancaster and Dr. J. Ray Grant to lobby for a Mary Persons soccer team. After the program started, Boland played on the first inaugural team.
Boland also has a deep appreciation for baseball. Although he was cut from tryouts in 9th grade, he has always enjoyed watching the sport. After graduating, Boland studied Athletic Training and Sports Medicine at Valdosta State and later earned a Masters in Sports Management from Troy.
Boland went on to work for his alma mater, spending 6 seasons as the athletic trainer for Troy’s baseball program. “In school, I got really interested in the shoulder and elbow. I liked that, as an athletic trainer in baseball, it’s really one trainer and around forty guys so it’s an easy roster to manage.”
After Troy, Boland worked as UGA’s baseball athletic trainer for several years. “My time at UGA was outstanding. I learned a lot from a bunch of really experienced people. Their resources are almost unlimited as far as what you can provide to the student athletes. I learned about medical maintenance, managing a large budget, restocking inventory and other things that aren’t really taught in school. That experience definitely prepared me to be a one man show at a high school level. I’ve accumulated enough knowledge in multiple areas now that I’m hoping it’ll be a smooth transition into a position like this.”
Boland emphasized that his primary job in this new position is to try and prevent injury through proper stretching, warmups and hydration. However, should a serious injury occur, he’s responsible for getting student athletes from Mary Persons to the physician that will take care of them, making sure they have a proper rehabilitation and safely getting them back on the field as soon as possible.
Boland can handle any minor or acute injury himself, which is why he has to be nearby at all times.
“If I'm covering a soccer practice and volleyball gets an injury then I have to drive over there. I’m with football a majority of the time because it’s centrally located on campus. That way, if there’s an injury in another sport, I can pop over pretty quickly.”
Another concern in addition to physical injury is, of course, COVID-19. Boland went through a John Hopkins contact tracing course prior to taking this position that he hopes has prepared him to properly minimize risk.
“Nothing will completely eliminate the risk but there are measures we can take to help prevent the virus’ spread. Simple things go a long way, like washing hands, wearing masks and trying not to be within six feet for more than 15 minutes.”
Boland also encouraged the strategy of grouping athletes during practice and weightlifting so that a positive case will have a smaller impact.
Boland says a big reason he moved back home is for his boys Caleb and Colin.
“I wanted to watch my two boys grow up and be able to rest my head on my own pillow every night. This community gave me a lot and I hope my boys will have the same opportunities I was given. There are so many people in this community that really helped raise me. I hope through this position I can give back in a small way and help teach student athletes how to take care of their bodies and keep themselves healthy. I’m twelve years into my career and hope to finish here. My goal is to grow a great sports medicine program that will positively impact the Mary Persons community.”