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Yuma High School Athletic Trainer honored by Seton Hall University

Yuma High School Athletic Trainer and sports medicine instructor Nick Santos did not expect to be back at his alma mater so quickly. Santos posing with other award recipients

After graduating from Seton Hall University with a Master of Science from the School of Health and Medical Sciences in 2013, Santos moved into his career in education and working with young athletes as a certified medical professional.

In June, however, Santos was recognized by the university for his positive contributions to the world through servant leadership as part of the 33rd annual Many Are One gala on the South Orange, New Jersey campus. The celebration honored the legacy of outgoing Seton Hall Interim President Mary J. Meehan.

“It has been an overwhelming experience,” said Santos, who is entering his second year at Yuma High. “I am humbled from the bottom of my heart that Seton Hall University would consider me to be included with esteemed individuals. I am forever grateful to Seton Hall University and hope down the road I can live up to my award and help build a successful community.”

Overall, nine individuals were honored during the June 8 event in front of more than 350 Seton Hall community members.

For Santos, the path towards becoming an athletic trainer was something he embraced after experiencing injuries during his career in sports and wanting to learn more about how to prevent them.

“As a former athlete myself, I have had a history of previous athletic injuries,” Santos said. “While working with previous Athletic Trainers and Sports Medicine Doctors, I inquired with them about what it takes to undergo that field. My former Junior College Athletic Trainer and Athletic Trainer in undergrad helped point me in the right direction.”

Since arriving in Yuma, Santos has made an impact. He serves the dual role of medical professional on the sidelines of athletic events and after-school practices and classroom teacher during the school day. In both roles, Santos’ goal is to make a difference.

“There is a whole lot of self-satisfaction in this field that will not only impact you, but will impact future generations,” he said when asked about what he tells students who interested in getting involved in his profession. “Don’t be afraid to: look into it, conduct research related to it, ask multiple people about it.”

Santos is one of five certified athletic trainers on Yuma Union High School District campuses. In addition, for the first time in district history, they have a sixth certified athletic trainer working as a “floater” to help provide additional coverage for YUHSD athletic events and practices. Santos is in his second year along with San Luis High School’s Kyrah Holland, while Kofa High School’s Kiley Mackell is in her first year. Gila Ridge High School’s Jamie Behr and Cibola’s JoJo Elliott are the most veteran athletic trainers on campuses, while longtime Kofa athletic trainer Kathy Hoover is now serving across the district.  

Eric Patten