Siglin Excels in Role as Holliston High’s Athletic Trainer

KEN HAMWEY, Staff Sports Writer
Holliston’s winning the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s Safe Sports School Award speaks volumes about Nicole Siglin’s pro-active style and the professional way she handles her role.
Issue Date: 
May, 2019
Article Body: 

Nicole Siglin, who’s been Holliston High’s athletic trainer for eight years, has all the attributes to excel in a role that’s become so crucial to the health of student-athletes.
The 47-year-old Syracuse native is personable, patient, flexible and objective. Always approachable, she’s able to multi-task and manage her time wisely. But, what makes her so effective is her penchant for safety.
“My job is to ensure the health and welfare of student-athletes,’’ said Siglin. “It’s all about student safety, and I’m their advocate.’’
If a decision involves holding an athlete out of competition, Siglin says she has the courage of conviction to stick with her decision. “Coaches and parents might get anxious and ‘no’ isn’t what they want to hear about a player’s availability,’’ she said. “But, an athletic trainer has to have thick skin and roll with the punches. I can be empathetic, but I can’t get emotional. Rushing a recovering athlete into action prematurely can have repercussions long-term. It’s always about the safety of kids, and I treat them like they’re my own.’’
Siglin, who’s married, has three children and lives in Hopkinton, is acutely aware that trust has to be built, and the key is being an effective liaison with doctors and physical therapists. “A trainer gains trust and credibility by being a good clinician,’’ she emphasized. “Being personable, approachable and communicative are also important in gaining respect.’’
Siglin’s popularity, which gained momentum in her early days on the job, was never more evident when Holliston voters flocked to a Town Meeting in 2013 that involved an article to change the athletic training position from part-time to full-time. It passed unanimously.
“Before I arrived at Holliston, there had been three trainers in 3½ years,’’ Siglin recalled. “In a part-time role, I was able to build the position out of nothing. Parents, student and coaches turned out for that meeting.’’
And, it was evident the vote was about Siglin’s loyalty to the school and her caring style.
Holliston Athletic Director Matt Baker is effusive in his praise of Siglin. “We’re lucky to have Nicole on staff,’’ Baker said. “She has a wealth of experience and knowledge and our student-athletes are in good hands with her overseeing their safety and care. She’s a great resource for myself, the coaching staff and students and parents. She’s also highly respected in the world of athletic training.’’
Before graduating from Nottingham High School in Syracuse, Siglin was a capable three-year veteran of volleyball, playing outside hitter and setter. She was chosen MVP in her senior year. At SUNY-Cortland (State University of New York), Siglin earned her degree in physical education, with a minor in athletic training, in 1994.
“I had 1,500 clinical hours in athletic training at SUNY, working and traveling with sports teams,’’ she noted. “I gained experience in a variety of sports. In 1996, I passed the exam to be a certified athletic trainer.’’
Siglin’s first job was at SUNY Upstate, a hospital where she handled athletic coverage in outreach programs. Moving to Massachusetts in 1998, she became one of four trainers at Bentley University. Siglin spent four years at Bentley but left after her children started arriving. In 2008, however, she joined Metrowest Medical and was assigned to Holliston. In 2012, she became the Panthers’ full-time trainer.
Siglin is super-organized, and that quality is evident by the way she handles injuries and emergency situations.
“I have an emergency plan in place whether it’s at the high school or at another facility,’’ she noted. “Our softball and baseball games are played at the Middle School, but everyone knows what has to be done if an injury occurs at either venue. “I’m the first responder at home games, so if we’ve got an injured player, I assess the status of the injury and determine what kind of aid is needed.
“If, for example, it’s a broken leg, I’ll mobilize the leg with a splint before an ambulance arrives. I’ll assist a parent in any way to get to the hospital, and if a parent isn’t available, we’ll assign an assistant coach to travel with the athlete. When rehab gets underway, I become a liaison. I’ll monitor the process and, if needed, be in contact with therapists and doctors to make sure the student is compliant.’’
Siglin ranks ankle injuries the most prevalent but says “concussions also keep me busy.’’ State law mandates a protocol for concussions that is strong on monitoring.
Siglin notes that the most enjoyable part of her job is seeing a student-athlete progress through all stages of an injury. “I see kids when they’re not hurt,’’ she emphasized. “A physical therapist sees an athlete only after an injury.’’ The most challenging aspect of her role, she indicated, “is telling athletes they can’t play or holding them out of a game.’’
Siglin stays up to date in her field. “Every two years, I’m required to get 50 hours of continuing education units,’’ she said. “That enables me to stay on top of new procedures.’’
Siglin and the other athletic trainers in the Tri Valley League maintain contact throughout the school year and also meet in pre-season sessions to discuss issues. “We have a superb group of athletic trainers in the league,’’ Siglin said. “We have a TVL rule that during a football game, the trainers from both schools are present. The trainers around the league are caring, highly-skilled and professional.’’
Siglin admires the hands-off approach of her A.D., Matt Baker, which, she says, allows her to fulfill her role.
Both Baker and Siglin had to be smiling two years ago when Holliston was singled out by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association for a Safe Sports School Award. The award recognizes secondary schools around the country that provide safe environments for student-athletes. “We’re the only school in the TVL to have this award,’’ Siglin said. “And, we are only one of 22 schools in Massachusetts that have been chosen for the honor.’’