I spent the entirety of my high school career as a student athletic trainer. While for most high schools, this meant giving the athletes water, then standing around socializing, that was NOT the way it went at Mortimer Jordan. We went to sports medicine camp at the University of Southern Mississippi, we worked the Alabama Sports Festival every year, and spent the same amount of hours on the field as all of the athletes.

Being a student athletic trainer really taught me what an excellent work ethic had to be. I spent long hours on the football field, taping injuries, showing up bright and early for rehabilitation on Saturday mornings, and, in my “senior trainer” years, preparing curriculum in order to teach the newer trainers what we were expected to know. I worked, and I worked every day.

Looking back on this time, I realize that this was my ideal first job. I didn’t get paid for it, but I did reap the benefits of taking pride in my work, and most importantly, working as a team. I haven’t been part of that team for almost seven years now, but I can look back and tell you that my friendships and relationships with all of those people that I worked with are still some of the strongest and most valuable of my life.

I feel that is telling of a great team that you work with every day. You build strong relationships. You come to rely on each other. Where one person has a weakness, another person on the team has a strength. At the end of the day, you either want to hug them or choke them, but they’re teammates. They’re family. You can’t go a day without them, because they are vital to your success.

I always remember a phrase that we were taught and that we used, day in and day out, as part of our success: Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. That’s something that I have continued to carry with me, no matter what my job title.

  • Improvise: Because sometimes, things don’t go exactly as planned. You might not have all the answers to a question, or all the resources to finish a task. This is where improvisation is key, and no, not the Jerry Seinfeld kind. This kind of improvisation is vital to success, because things are never going to work completely in your favor. You have to be able to improvise in certain situations in order to move forward.
  • Adapt: So, we’ve improvised, and we’ve found ourselves a little uncomfortable. One thing that Dave mentioned at Daxko DNA: get comfortable being uncomfortable. Get out of your comfort zone and adapt to those less than ideal surroundings. This provides growth, strength, and new insight.
  • Overcome: After all of this, it’s obvious that we’ve encountered problems. We’ve stepped out of our comfort zones, we’ve had to make the best of a less than ideal situation. The last step in this process is KEY. Overcoming obstacles is necessary to success. No great leader ever walked on easy street. Obstacles are part of life, but overcoming those obstacles make us ready for the next big thing.

Though I may no longer tape ankles before Friday night football, or catch someone’s teeth in my hand after they’ve been hit in the face with a baseball (yes, that has absolutely actually happened to me), I am still that student athletic trainer at heart. I still understand the need for teamwork, for communication, for struggle and for reward. As the great Vince Lombardi once said, “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.  Work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything.”


Deeanna S. is a Support Services Associate who is an aspiring Tudor historian who has an insatiable sweet tooth and almost always wins at Disney Scene It.


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