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Mahoney a huge asset to Cheboygan athletics, NMSMC

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Over the last eight years, that person has been CHS athletics trainer Emily Mahoney, who’s been there to help athletes every step of the way.

CHEBOYGAN — Whenever attending a Cheboygan High School sporting event — whether it’s football, basketball, hockey, soccer, volleyball, you name it — the athletes are the ones people look forward to seeing.

But in order for those athletes to be in the best condition — especially health-wise — there always has to be someone there to look over them and make sure they’re safe.

Over the last eight years, that person has been CHS athletics trainer Emily Mahoney, who’s been there to help athletes every step of the way.

Since she started back in 2012, it’s been quite the journey for Mahoney, an employee at Northern Michigan Sports Medicine Center (NMSMC).

Whether it’s the mornings where she works at NMSMC-Cheboygan with seven to eight patients per day, or the afternoons and evenings where she treats athletes at the high school, it’s usually busy for Mahoney.

In her case, she wouldn’t rather have it any other way.

“I like having a wide variety of clients and students in varied work settings each day,” said Mahoney, who graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine and Athletic Training. “I enjoy the challenge of the unknown, I suppose. It’s very rewarding working with the student-athletes, and I’m happy to be able to have a positive influence on them. Cheboygan is a great place to live. I like the small-town feel, I like that I’m respected amidst most of the community.”

For Mahoney, there’s an abundance of tasks — taping athletes, evaluations, checking on prior injuries, meeting with coaches, calling parents and doctors, watching practices, making sure everybody’s feeling well — to deal with every single day.

During football season, days — and nights, in particular — feel a bit longer for Mahoney, who travels with the Cheboygan varsity team to away games.

 

Things can get a little stressful — and hectic, at times — for Mahoney, but at the end of the day there’s those two people there to help her unwind at home after each day.

Those would be her husband, Joe, who works as a physical education teacher at Inland Lakes, as well as her four-year-old daughter Harper.

“Every day in this profession is not easy. In some cases, I will have to treat several injuries and assess playing status at a moment’s notice,” Mahoney said. “I must admit that even my adrenaline is ramped up during athletic events. At the end of the day, it’s my job to ensure each athlete’s safety and health and communicate that with parents, coaches and physicians. There’s a high burnout rate in many health professions, athletic trainers especially. My husband has taught me to leave my work at the door and thoroughly appreciate the time I have with family and loved ones.”

When it comes to working with athletes, Mahoney is exceptional at what she does.

What exactly is the secret to having a good working relationship with the kids?

Well, having an easy-going personality definitely helps.

“I think I’m pretty laid back,” Mahoney said. “I try to develop a good rapport with the students so that I am more approachable when injuries occur. The first time they meet me they’re a little nervous, but as they get to know me through conversations at practices and competitions, they become more comfortable with me, and I’m pretty fun.”

 

When it comes to coaches who work with Mahoney, they know she’s the right person to go to.

And they have a huge appreciation for her.

“Emily does a great job of making sure the kids are kept safe on the field in football, first of all, making sure the kids are taken care of,” said Cheboygan junior varsity football coach Scott Kelley. “She’s also very good at determining when they’re able to go and if they’re able to go, which is a very difficult thing sometimes. She has rapport with the kids, also. The kids have a lot of respect for her, and she has a lot of respect for the kids and for their desire to play the game, and she has a great desire to get them back on the floor, on the field or wherever after they’ve been injured or after they’ve had some kind of situation.

“The kids have a great respect for her. As far as coaches go, I have a great respect for her. I talk to her daily about, ‘Is this kid ready to go, is this kid not ready to go?’ and she’s really honest about it. She’s really upfront about what’s going on with those kids. She also is a great person to communicate with the parents, and she’s a very easy person to go to to ask advice. Great rapport with the kids, also a great rapport with the coaches.”

The honesty shown by Mahoney has been appreciated by several other coaches, especially Cheboygan hockey coach Craig Coxe, who’s worked with her for eight seasons now.

“I think Emily’s awesome, I think she does a great job,” said Coxe. “She’s been around sports for a long time. She knows if a player is not really hurt or not. In all sports, some players will try to milk it a little bit, but one of the things I respect the most about Emily is whatever question I ask her, she’s going to shoot me straight, and I really, really enjoy that about her.”

For Mahoney, it’s never been about her. It’s always been about the athletes she helps out.

 

“I think the most rewarding part of my job would be seeing a student-athlete through the entire process of being injured to getting back to the game they love ,” Mahoney said. “I enjoy seeing them progress through physical therapy with me at 7 a.m. and in the afternoon at the school, and realizing they are accomplishing the goals they made to get them stronger and ready to play.”

In the end, Mahoney loves her job as much as when she started over 10 years ago.

But what she cherishes most is the positive feedback from the Cheboygan athletic community.

“It’s really gratifying for any parent, coach, or patient to come up to me after the fact and say, ‘Hey, I appreciate what you did for my kid or what you did for myself,‘” Mahoney said. “It’s good to see that, it’s good to have kids come back from college and just say ‘hi’ to me, so I know that I made some type of impact on them. Cheboygan is a great community and I’m happy to be part of the athletics family.”

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Our Petoskey East clinic is located on the corner of Mitchell & Division, 345 N. Division 231-348-7950.[map]

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Our Harbor Springs clinic is located next the Harbor Springs airport, 8452 M-119 Harbor Plaza, 231-348-7002. [map]                                        

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