By Bill McCaughey
For the Fort Bend Star
Sixteen years ago, the high cost of living in California drove June Tomlin, a recent Southwest Texas University graduate, to take a trainer job at Elkins High School, and Elkins has been better off ever since.
Tomlin is the head trainer at Elkins and is responsible for the safety of all of Elkins’ athletes. That includes the prevention and care of all athletic injuries, documenting the injuries and rehabilitation for analysis in order to prevent future injuries, and making sure medical supplies are on hand.
“I and my assistant trainers are responsible for covering every home game for every sport. We also cover every varsity football game and all playoff games in every sport,” Tomlin said.
“June does a great job of working with our student-athletes. She makes herself available before and after school, and on weekends for the treatment of athletes,” said Albert Thomas, Elkins boys head basketball coach said.
“On football game days, we start early and finish around midnight. I am responsible for packing the medical supplies we will need at each game. We have our pre-game meal at 2 p.m. for a night game,” Tomlin said. “Typically, we go to Luby’s and the players can choose between beef, chicken, fish and pasta.
After the meal, we begin working with the players who need taping or some rehab. During the game we assist injured players, and after the game we make sure any injuries are being properly treated. You have to be in shape because we are on our feet the whole time.”
To stay in shape, Tomlin is a Coffee Girl. The Coffee Girls are a group of four women who meet at 5 a.m. every day, seven days a week, to work out. Tomlin will either swim or run and uses that quiet time to prepare for her day. After their workout, the Coffee Girls go out for coffee, and then go their separate ways until the next morning.
“I use my workout time to mentally prepare a list of everything I need to do during my day,” Tomlin said. “My workout keeps me calm, especially on game days.”
In 2007, Tomlin ran the Houston Marathon and began to train for an Iron Man or tri-athlete competition. The competitions can vary in distances, but Tomlin focuses on the Olympic 5150 competitions, which involve swimming 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles), biking 40 kilometers (24.3 mile), and running 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).
In May, Tomlin finished first in both the Athena Division and the Masters’ Athena Division of the CapTex International Distance Tri-Athlete Competition.
“My goal is to make the nationals of the Olympic 5051 competition in the next few years,” Tomlin said. “I would like to see everyone working out. I recommend working out with friends who are as dedicated as you are. On those days when you don’t want to get out of bed, knowing your friends are waiting for you will get you going.”
Even after 16 years of practices and game days, Tomlin loves her job, and the coaches and players appreciate her.
“She (Tomlin) is the best trainer in the district hands down. Whenever I have an injury it has healed quickly. She takes great care of all our players. She’s also very competitive and always gives great words of advice,” Luke Leblanc, senior quarterback, said.
A tweet from Braden Norris, junior linebacker, on Sunday is common. “Sprained my ankle, what do I do other than ice it?” Tomlin’s response: “Come to treatment tomorrow between 7:30-10 a.m.”
Tomlin’s unique combination of professionalism, competitiveness, personal caring and tough love makes teams want her to cover their games.
“During our state tournament run in 2016, she was our secret weapon. One player on the team was injured in a car accident before the season. His back was sore from the accident. Doc (Tomlin) treated him throughout the season, both before and after games. There were several others who had minor injuries throughout the season, and she would help treat them so they could recover from their injuries,” coach Thomas said. “As the season went on, the players would make sure that she was going to be at our games. They became very protective of her, because she took such good care of them. She does this year end and year out.”
The combination of Tomlin looking out for the athletes, and the athletes looking out for her, has greatly contributed to the success Elkins’ teams have had in the past 15 years.
“I love working with the kids. I enjoy watching them grow up from their freshman year to their senior year,” Tomlin said. “I love to see them go off to college and become a success in life.”