Athletic trainer earns state recognition
Posted on 10/21/2020
Russell Williams and Jillian Sutton wear masks
From prevention to first-responder to rehabilitation, athletic trainers play a vital role in an athlete’s care. They are often on the sidelines supporting the playmakers, happy to not be the center of attention. That works - until you are named the High School Athletic Trainer of the Year.

Jillian Sutton, Windermere High School, received the Athletic Trainers’ Association of Florida’s award for her unwavering dedication to her teams and high level of professionalism.

Jillian Sutton smiles with the glass award“I was shocked and incredibly honored,” Sutton said of receiving the honor in a virtual conference.

Sutton believes her success stems from the talented team she works with, including Thomas Anania (her assistant), the Jewett Orthopedic team, Dr. Rust, Russell Williams (athletic director) and the WHS Student Athletic Training Aide program. She is also grateful to Doug Patterson and OCPS who understand the importance of having athletic trainers on all high school campuses. 

“I had an incredibly influential mentor in high school, Gina Martin. She provided me with an outlet from life's trials and tribulations while teaching me about the medical field and everything it has to offer.  I am happy to be a similar outlet to high school students interested in Sports Medicine at Windermere,” Sutton said. 

Now in her fourth year at WHS, Sutton feels her work with student-athletes last year prompted a peer to nominate her for the award. In a unique set of events, they had an athlete suffer from heatstroke, which required immediate medical attention. The rest of the year brought several other significant injuries that required surgery. 

Knowing it was each athletes’ first-time needing this level of medical care, she communicated with the athletes and parents throughout the entire process. She reassured them she would be there to help get them back onto the field - quickly and safely. 

“The joy on the athlete's face when they are able to return to the sport they love, pain-free, is invaluable,” Sutton said. “I have been able to build strong, meaningful relationships with student-athletes because of this.” 

The School Board will recognize Sutton at the Oct. 27 meeting.