Alumnus carries on high school passion with her career
The smell of sweaty athletes, the scratchy tape around an ankle or wrist, and the constant sound of laughter make up the welcoming atmosphere in the athletic training room, as alumnus Tommy Calhoun can attest.
“When I was fifteen, I was a ward of the state; nobody claimed as a dependent. So I was adopted into a family with no kids. I didn’t really have any sort of direction because no one had given me that yet, but the athletic training program helped me, and my parents helped me. I realized that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I am a people person, so I want to be in the thick of it,” said Calhoun, who has worked at San Luis Sports Therapy for one year, as before she traveled the country as a motorsports model.
Emily Taylor, the color guard coach, believes that Calhoun made the right choice to pursue this as an old friend.
“I fully support her; it was an awesome choice and a great learning experience. She also does her job very well,” said Taylor, a 2011 graduate. Calhoun’s first athletic training teacher agrees.
“I believe Tommy is the kind of person that was born to help people, as she grew older and matured she developed the ability to put people at ease. She is very outgoing and works well with people. I think she made the right choice. I know she loves her job at San Luis sports therapy,” said Todd Olivera, who worked at Paso High for 12 years and left during the summer of 2013 to move to Texas.
Calhoun spends her time in the training room at San Luis Sports Therapy assisting the physical therapist. “We split the time evenly with the physical therapist. We are a team. We are all on an even playing field. You get to know them just as much. Most of the time, we go through all of their exercises. We do it all. It is a full service gym as well. We have weights, cardio, everything,” Calhoun said.
She sees between 16 and 20 patients each day. “The athletic training program at the high school gave me background that I want for what I really want to do – become an athletic trainer. I was one of the trainers from a long time ago. There were only six of us in the class, and we all got really close,” said Calhoun, who remembers her three years of athletic training at the high school quite fondly.
“I love O. I love Todd. He was so hard on me, but at the time I understood that it was because he expected a lot from me. I’m glad that I didn’t crumble under this pressure,” said Calhoun, who also said that Olivera was one of her biggest inspirations in life.
“I believe that he is a good person; he may act tough and hard, but when it comes down to it, you know that he is there for you. If you get hurt, he is going to help you, no matter what,” Calhoun said.
Both Taylor and Olivera also enjoy memories of her relaxing a little and showing her fun side. “My best moments with Tommy are when we signed to each other across the classroom because we both know sign language. It really came in handy when I had a question for her!” said Taylor, whose older sister is the same age as Calhoun.
“I have so many fond memories of Tommy. My favorite is when I took her to a playoff football game as a junior… About halfway through the game she was messing around with one of the players who was hurt but came along to the game. She was squirting water bottles and kinda flirting. One of the coaches started to yell at the player, and so in true O fashion I went over and started yelling at her. The look on her face was priceless….she was so scared….I had to try and not laugh. She sat on the bench the rest of the game and don’t move…like a statue. I knew right the. That she was going to be a special student. She always listen from that day forward and was a big part of the athletic training program from that day on. She turned out to be a true leader…” said Olivera, who has known Calhoun for eight years.
“I knew that I wanted to help people. And health care is something that we will always need, for the rest of our lives,” said Calhoun, who was also inspired by both of her parents, because both of them are paramedic supervisors of San Luis Obispo County.