There wasn’t much for Holly Mastronardi to build upon when she accepted the position to be Cape Cod Tech’s first full-time athletic trainer.
After years of hiring emergency medical technicians or paramedics to work its games, Cape Tech made history in January when it hired Mastronardi, a Barnstable native and 2014 Barnstable High School graduate, as its first full-time athletic trainer in school history.
“I was at Upper Cape Tech helping out and I was also part-time at Barnstable when this position opened here,” said Mastronardi, who graduated from Bridgewater State in 2018 with a degree in athletic training. “I’ve really been enjoying my experience here. Especially to be able to build something from the ground up — these kids have never had somebody in this position before. I think it’s really important for me to kind of build the foundation that they can look up to and know what is involved and what I’m here for them for.”
Although Mastronardi has only had the opportunity to work with the boys and girls basketball teams in the months since her hiring, she said she enjoyed getting to know the student athletes and coaches.
Her first couple months have also given her an opportunity to get acclimated to Cape Tech’s new school.
“I like to learn the ins and outs, especially where it’s a new school,” Mastronardi said. “Everything is incredible here. The weight room, the gym and the field — everything is great.”
While the general public is often unfamiliar with the job duties that athletic trainers carry out each day, Mastronardi said she wants Cape Tech’s student athletes and their parents to understand she’s there for them, beginning with injury prevention before games and continuing with evaluating, diagnosing and treating injuries as they come.
It can be a whirlwind at times, but Mastronardi is committed to making a difference and building relationships throughout the school.
“There’s a lot going on, but it’s all worth it,” she said. “It’s really helpful for the kids, and knowing that they now have someone who is looking out for their best interests is one of the most important parts of the job for me — especially building trust and building relationships with the kids, the coaches and the parents as well.”
Mastronardi said she also understands the reality that technical school students might face hardships unlike other high school students around the Cape. In that regard, she wants Cape Tech’s student body to recognize that her support extends beyond taping ankles or helping them overcome injuries.
“Some of these kids don’t have a really solid support system, so I like to let them know that I’m there to support them and if they ever need anything — a mentor or whatever they need throughout their journey in high school and high school sports — that’s also important for me,” Mastronardi said.
Mastronardi was a volleyball player who also remained active in other sports and clubs during her own high school experience in Barnstable. She recognized she was passionate about healthcare from a young age, although she didn’t know exactly what her professional journey would entail until she began weighing college options.
It was clear, however, that Mastronardi was determined to center her education around her love for sports and health.
“Honestly, I was looking at colleges and whatnot and thought to myself about how I love sports and I love the health field,” Mastronardi said. “I thought, ‘Oh, athletic training — that sounds kind of cool. You can enjoy sports and be a medical professional.’ It was something that I thought was very different than other professions. It kind of stood out to me and I was really interested in it throughout [Bridgewater State’s] whole program.”
Although she was just hired Jan. 10, Cape Tech athletic director Alan Harrison said Mastronardi’s addition has already improved the athletic department.
“The addition of Holly’s position has been a welcomed improvement,” Harrison said. “Now during games, we know athletes on both teams will get the proper immediate treatment if an injury occurs. In addition, our athletes will now receive the proper follow-up treatment when they do receive a game day injury. Most important is the relationship and trust Holly has developed with our student-athletes and the knowledge of her trade that the student-athletes respect and appreciate.”'
While Mastronardi acknowledges her professional career is just beginning, she prides herself on following a certain set of procedures regardless of the athlete and injury she is aiding.
The sports and circumstances might change by the minute, though Mastronardi said her attention to detail and commitment to the student athletes will remain her top priority regardless of the situation she is presented with.
“Following up with every single kid, no matter what, is important,” she said. “No matter whether somebody is upset because they bent their pinky backwards or they had a serious injury, I kind of treat [the injures] all the same, in regards to what is important to them and what’s important for their physical and mental well-being.”
After not knowing what she was walking into, Mastronardi said she feels like she made the right choice to join Cape Tech’s athletic department.
“It’s better than what I could have ever imagined,” she said. “Everyone I have talked to and have had relationships with has been helpful and outgoing. I’ve really enjoyed my experience.”
Email Brad Joyal at email@example.com.