Maggie Flanagan has a very important role with all the athletic teams that wear the North Royalton High School uniform. You probably don’t recognize her name. She’s not a coach. But, her role is far more importan. Maggie is the athletic trainer for North Royalton High School. This is her fourth year on the job for North Royalton, but she has over 25 years of experience in helping athletes deal with their injuries and she helps them to get back in the game. It’s a big job.
Just consider how many teams and different sports Maggie has to take care of. “We’ll start with three football teams, two cross countries, five soccer, six basketball, three volleyball, two tennis, two wrestling, swimming, gymnastics, three baseball, three softball, two track and last, but not least, two in golf.” Golf I asked? “Look what’s happened to Tiger Woods,” said Flanagan. By my count that’s 35 teams. Multiply that number by how many athletes are on each team. Fortunately, not all 35 teams play at once. But, try to wrap your head around the number of games played, the number of athletes competing, and the long days when there can be as many as five home athletic events played in one day. It’s a big job.
How does Maggie keep up with all the teams and all the athletes? “Paperwork,” Maggie said. “I don’t know all their names unless they are what I call frequent fliers, when I have to see them on a regular basis because of an injury.”
“They sign in for all their injuries. I know most of the football players because I see them every day. Baseball and Basketball I know as well because they’re practicing in the gym when I’m there. And some of the athletes are playing multiple sports. What I tell all of the athletes is, ‘if you need me this is where I am. If you need me this is where you find me. My cell phone is always on’.” Maggie has two training rooms, one is located inside the High School and the other is at the annex by the Football Stadium. And the athletes DO call her.
Maggie was born and grew up in North Royalton. “I had five older brothers.” She went to elementary school at St. Albert, played in the rec leagues in North Royalton and went to Holy Name High School. “When I was at Holy Name, I took an athletic training class. I said, ‘that sounds interesting,’ and I took it. It struck a nerve. I went to Ohio University for it.” Maggie graduated with a degree in athletic administration and a minor in athletic training.” She went to Florida for massage school, got her first athletic training job in the Sunshine State and got recruited to come back to Ohio.
She was recruited by Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland to work in their outpatient rehab unit. Part of that rehab unit was working with the Cleveland Indians in 1994 and 1995. Talk about a dream job. “Those were fun times. I got to go to spring training, and see the World Series. I still touch base with some of those players,” she said. And Maggie spent some time in Atlanta, in 1996, assisting athletes at the Summer Olympics.
When there were changes in the outpatient rehab unit at Lutheran Hospital, Maggie took a job as the athletic trainer at Cuyahoga Heights High School and was there for 13 years. Then, Maggie lost her job in Cuyahoga Heights in the early part of this decade due to a budget cut. Then, North Royalton High School entered the picture.
The next time you attend a Bears game, glance on the sidelines, or look on the bench or in the dugout. You’ll notice a real pro there. That’s Maggie Flanagan. She’s helping to keep the Bears in the game.