Kayla Jones is an Athletic Trainer at the Vereen Center who works with the athletes at Worth County High School. She got her undergraduate degree from the University of North Florida and is pursuing her master’s degree at the University of North Georgia.
Jones is from Hilliard, Florida, and she heard about Vereen’s graduate assistant program from a former Vereen Athletic Trainer whom she was friends with.
“After a year of working in Florida as an Athletic Trainer, I decided to come and pursue my master’s and work for the Vereen Center,” Jones said.
Jones said that working with the athletes and coaches at Worth County High School has been a great experience.
“I love all my athletes,” she said. “All the coaches are really supportive. Generally, whatever I say about an athlete, they’ll take it. Some of them, they want their athletes back as soon as they can. We want to try and get them back as soon as they can. There can be long hours, but it’s a good experience, and they make it enjoyable, so it’s been a fun time.”
She said her favorite part of the job is connecting with the athletes she treats.
“I think the thing I love the most about it is the athletes – getting to know them on a personal level; getting to help them get back to the game; even if they’re not hurt, helping them just with life in general,” she said. “They do tend to come to us for more than just injury advice. We kind of have become those people that they can just talk to, so just getting to be there for them no matter what has really been a rewarding thing.”
Jones credited Jaclyn Donovan, Vereen’s Athletic Training Services Coordinator, with making her experience at Vereen a positive one.
“Working with Vereen has been awesome,” Jones said. “They’re here whenever you need them, whatever you need them for. Jaclyn is great. She’s always ready to take on whatever we ask. If we need extra supplies, she’s there for us. If we need somebody to talk to, she’s there for us. Any advice that we need, she’s there to give the best advice she has for us. All of my coworkers, we’re just like a big family.”
As for the future, Jones enjoys Athletic Training at the high school level and sees herself pursuing that as a career.
“Hopefully I’ll get hired on fulltime by a high school, maybe to even teach health classes there, and then be available for rehab all the other parts of the day and then be ready for sports in the afternoon,” she said.