Claremore Daily Progress

May 17, 2013

‘All-State Brace’

CHS graduate takes pride in helping others through rough times

Tim Ritter
Sports Editor

CLAREMORE — All the hours and hard work of keeping the Claremore Zebra athletes injury-free in order to reach their dreams at the highest level helped graduate Averey Brace fulfill a huge accomplishment in her athletic training career.

Brace, a recent 2013 graduate of Claremore High School, received All-State honors from the Oklahoma Coaches Association earlier this month for her three-year commitment to the Claremore High School athletic training program.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Brace said. “It was really a surprise to me when my dad (David) read the post card to me.

“As soon as you saw it, you knew what it was going to be.”

Throughout her life, Brace has taken it upon herself to reach out and help others. With her kind heart toward compassion, being a student athletic trainer for Claremore High School allowed her to be apart of the ‘team behind the team’.

“I owe a great deal of these past three years to former trainer Trey Robertson (now athletic trainer with Rogers State University),” Brace said. “He taught me everything.”

Being a student trainer is more than just going to football games and standing on the sidelines, Brace added.

“It’s a lot of hard work. We’re there two hours before the boys show up getting everything ready for practice or games, and we’re also the last ones to leave on Friday nights,” she said.

“It’s a lot of responsibility and time-consuming, but definitely great in the long run.”

Up until her sophomore year, Brace competed in sports — swimming, volleyball and basketball — as a teenager.

“Once I got to high school and realizing that I wasn’t athletically gifted,” Brace said, “I wanted to stay involve and being a trainer allowed me to be a part of Zebra athletics.”

Brace added that her time as a trainer has given her opportunities that most people her age haven’t had.

“I’ve taken out stitches and even casted hands,” Brace said. “Plus, I’ve been able to work with a lot of great coaches and athletes and those are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Though she loves all sports, baseball will always be Brace’s favorite.

“There’s something about the spring and being around the boys (her closest friends),” Brace said. “Coach (Brent) Payne and Coach (Derby) Kinnard are really fun to work with and so supportive of the athletic training staff.”

Brace acknowledged that this year was more pressure on her shoulders than the previous two. She was the only senior trainer, which meant more responsibilities and a much greater leadership role.

“Before Lisa (Welsch) was hired in the spring of 2012, I was having to let the other girls know when we would meet, when spring practices were and what needed to get done before we could leave school every day,” Brace said. “Once we got Lisa, it was a real joy to work with her.”

Welsch, according to Brace, was a very good teacher and young enough that myself and the other student trainers could connect with her on a personal level.

“You were never afraid to ask her a question,” Brace said. “And, she would always go step-by-step in showing you the right way to do things (whether it was taping athletes or other treatments).”

This year’s student trainers were definitely my favorite, Brace continued.

“We had really good chemistry, and nobody felt like they had to do everything,” Brace said.

Since being an athletic trainer, Brace has found a gift or calling for life after college.

“It’s kind of weird, but every since I was 4 years old, my mom (Jamie) said I would rather go to a funeral than a wedding,” Brace said. “I love to help people through the roughest times in their life.”

This year, Brace has interned at Rice Funeral Services and said after graduating from Oklahoma State University, she would like to become a funeral director.

“I love to help people through the roughest times in their life,” Brace said.