You can see them on any given game day treating athletes throughout Union County, but there is much more involved in the work routine of athletic trainers. Mandy Wise and Jeremy Dorrough have worked with Crossroads Rehabilitation, providing complementary service to four of the five county schools, but each took different paths to sports medicine.
The duo are both Union County born and raised with Wise, the former Mandy Griffin of Myrtle, playing basketball for the Lady Hawks and eventually Northeast Mississippi Community College and Dorrough graduating from rival Ingomar. It was while playing at Northeast that Wise first learned of the career field she would eventually follow.
“I had no idea what a trainer was until I played at Northeast. We didn’t have trainers when I was in school, so in college I realized there were people who did that kind of thing,” Wise said. “I actually wanted to coach, but I did not want to teach school, so the alternative was sports medicine.”
After finishing at Northeast, Wise would complete her schooling at Mississippi State, and an internship brought her back to her home, where she remains today.
For Dorrough, and interest in medicine and a desire to work in sports eventually led him athletic training, as he attended Northeast, Ole Miss and received a master’s degree from Indiana University.
“I started off, believe it or not, studying geological engineering and decided that I really couldn’t see myself sitting in an office all day and I wanted to be in athletics,” Dorrough said. “I thought about coaching, but didn’t want the pressure of coaching. Wanting to be involved in athletics, this was the best way to do it. I had also been interested in the medical field, so sports medicine was the best combination of the two.”
Whether working with athletes during practice or in the clinic, it is a 24 hour a day job, as Dorrough works specifically with West Union and Myrtle and Wise at New Albany and East Union. This on top of days at the Crossroads clinic, where they alternate their in-clinic schedules to accommodate time at their respective schools. Between the two, countless hours are spent at practices, games and tournaments, but there is nothing else they would rather do than to work with the kids in Union County.
“It’s great for us to work with the kids, and what it’s a great community service that our bosses offer to the county,” Wise said. “There are not many places you can just walk in and ask to see a doctor for free, and we’re able to do that for these kids, whether they see me, Jeremy or anyone else in the clinic.”
With this kind of dedication to their work and the schools, Union County is lucky to have the care of their athletes in the hands of two of the best athletic trainers in the area.