Trainer Ysa Druck Heals the Athletes of SRHS


Pier Pomeroy, Contributor

Ysa Druck is a prominent member of the San Rafael High School athletics community, but many outside of that group don’t really know who she is. 

As I sat in Ysa’s office during our interview, I was interrupted twice by students coming to check in with her. On the flip of a dime, Ysa was able to remember what their injuries were and where they were in the healing process. She checked in with them and asked how they were feeling while explaining the next steps. Her job as San Rafael High Schools Athletic Trainer is to help students dealing with any physical injury. However she is also making emotional connections with these students and creating a space in which they can feel comfortable.  

Ysa’s childhood from ages 14-18 was filled with working at the pool and going to the movies with her friends. She was on the swim team and spent most of her time with her teammates. She is still friends with them today. She also played soccer and did marching band, although she is not quite sure if that counts as a sport. She played trumpet and, every once in a while, pulls it out.

Ysa explained, “I had no clue what athletic training was.” She first really heard about it in college when she took a career aptitude test, a test based on your personality that shows possible career options. Her results were athletic training, physical therapy, or becoming a doctor. 

Ysa first started her college career at community college she then went to Sacramento State. From there she transferred back to community college in Diablo Valley. It was there she found out about athletic training and got her associates degree in athletic training. She then went to University of West Florida which she loved. She explained that part of the reason she went to many colleges is because she “loves to learn.” 

Over the years, Ysa has had many mentors. She had two athletic trainers help her during her time at Diablo Valley. She explains she has “learned so much from them.” She also has a mentor from University of West Florida, her alma mater. They often share funny stories that happen working in their profession. She is able to ask questions and get helpful feedback. 

One of the scariest injuries she has seen in her career happened at her second men’s lacrosse game. She saw a boy get hit and go “rag doll.” This means he was directly knocked out. As an athletic trainer she has to keep her emotions steady to help calm the patient. She unfortunately hasn’t seen any super-bad injuries and she partially believes that is due to the fact that she works a lot to prevent injuries. 

Ysa is new to the San Rafael community, and this is her second year as the school’s athletic trainer. When she was deciding where to work, she actually had the choice between San Rafael and Terra Linda. She was aware of the rivalry but didn’t actually understand the seriousness of it as she came from a small town with only one high school. 

There were two factors that went into her decision. One is the fact that her mom graduated from San Rafael. Her mother was able to tell Ysa what the school environment is like. Ysa explained to me that she and her mom are extremely close, so she trusted her opinion. The second factor is that San Rafael is very culturally diverse, which is something that she strongly values. Ysa loves the diversity and really appreciates it. 

Becoming an athletic trainer is no easy feat. The process to become an athletic trainer has over the years adapted and become a more difficult process. You must get a bachelor’s degree in any major however, there are prerequisites you must take to apply to athletic training school. Then you must get into an athletic training program and get your masters there. Once you graduate you have to take a test for whichever state you are going to practice in. However, in the state of California you do not need a license to practice. This is a big liability issue. Which means that actual certified athletic trainers don’t have the right to diagnose athletes with injuries that they do in other states.  

The difficulty of this job does not end once you finish schooling. Ysa explains, “there isn’t one hard part, it’s all about how you perceive it.” She also explains that some sports seasons are more frustrating than others and that it is different at every school. She has found the hardest part about her job currently is trying to figure out what her role is in different sports and different seasons. She mentions that this is most likely because she is still relatively new to this position, this being her second year at San Rafael.  

When I asked Ysa for advice for someone wanting to be an athletic trainer she told me that you should know what you are getting yourself into. And that you will have to be willing to fight for more than people are willing to give you.” She explains that “it is an old profession that is continuously changing.” She describes the fact that there is an older school mentality in athletic training school but that it is a lot different when you get to the work field. Her last piece of advice is to always think about benefiting the athlete and asking yourself what can I do to help them. 

Ysa this year had a student intern for her, Ellie Diaz, a senior at SR. She is a varsity athlete who plays water polo, basketball, and swimming. During the fall sports season she would assist Ysa during football games. Ellie explained, “She has taught me so much from basic taping techniques, to nutrition, to how to stretch a shoulder, and more.” On the sidelines, Ellie helped Ysa carry players off the field, treat their injuries, tape players, stretch out cramps, and rub biofreeze into muscles. Ellie learned various techniques on treating injuries such as turf burn and cupping to aid in injury recovery.

Ellie explained that working with Ysa is an amazing opportunity. In fact she wishes that she could have started working with Ysa earlier. Ellie describes Ysa as one of the kindest trainers she has ever worked with. She believes Ysa is excellent at her job because she is always ready to help people on the fly. Starting in the spring season, a junior, James Rider, will be interning with Ysa. He explains, “She always helps no matter the situation and really knows her stuff.” 

Ysa helps many students at San Rafael but many students, even the athletes, don’t know anything about her. Ysa on average sees 10 students a day and she is responsible for remembering their names, injury, and how she helped them earlier. It is our job as students-athletes to know more about someone who helps us so much.