On a hot August afternoon, Denise Bain is inside the Miami Trace High School field house, attending to four football players.
Bain, the athletic trainer at Miami Trace, is concluding her final week in the position after 18 years, making her the longest-serving trainer in the school’s history.
Bain, currently employed by the Fayette County Memorial Hospital, will be taking a position with Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro, where she will work with student-athletes in the Lynchburg-Clay school district, her high school alma mater.
“I grew up there and went to Wilmington College,” Bain said. “I had one other athletic-training job before I came here (Sycamore High School in Cincinnati). A little time passed and this job came open and I found it and applied.
“I started at the end of January in 2001,” Bain said.
It all comes down to the young people, Bain said.
“When I came here, they took me in,” Bain said. “I didn’t have much experience when I came here. They accepted me and treated me like family. The kids all treated me with respect. It made it enjoyable. The kids are hard-headed sometimes, but, that’s kids. They’re the ones that made me want to keep coming back. I can’t complain too much about any of the kids here. They all had the respect and treated me with common courtesy.”
Head football coach Jerry Williams spoke about Bain during a break at practice.
“Denise is going to be sorely missed here,” Williams said. “She’s been a great contributor to this program. She’s been a strong advocate for these athletes for all of these years. None of these guys, or any of the athletes playing today were even born when she started being the trainer here.
“She does a great job with these kids,” Williams said. “She’s going to be missed. A trainer is a person who is a coaches’ friend. She knows the kids. She’s going to be missed within this program.”
“I appreciate the whole staff here,” Bain said. “I started when Charlie (Andrews) was the A.D. The boosters help out when needed. They’ve helped me. I couldn’t ask for a better group of coaches to work with. They’ve been great with everything that we’ve done, as far as protocols or injuries, just game coverage. They’ve been great. That’s what keeps you coming back.
“It’s a medical field, so, it’s going to change all the time,” Bain said. “It’s rapidly changing. The government has gotten into it now, so the requirements there, that’s a big change.
“Just the way we treat things,” Bain said. “It used to be, back in the day, if you had an ACL (knee ligament) tear, you were done. Now, you have surgery, we get you rehabbed and you’re back to playing. The way we treat ankle sprains, it used to be you babied them for a while, as I call it, but now the way you treat them and take care of them, it’s different and we can get them back faster, hopefully. Those are the little things you think of, but, it’s an ever-changing field.”
“The Miami Trace Athletic Department has been blessed for the past 18 years to have Denise Bain as our athletic trainer,” Miami Trace High School Athletic Director Aaron Hammond said. “Over that period of time, Denise has become a trusted individual in the department. Our student-athletes and their parents feel very comfortable going to Denise for diagnosis and treatment of injuries. She’s proved to be a very valuable liaison between Fayette County Memorial Hospital and Miami Trace in terms of getting our athletes top-notch medical care.
“Denise has been the longest-serving A.T. during my 24 years,” Hammond said. “I would say she’s treated thousands of kids, from just having an ankle or wrist taped prior to a contest or practices, to treating more serious injuries; she’s come into contact with thousands of student-athletes at Miami Trace, as well as treating those from visiting schools when they come for contests.”
Taking care of young people, it becomes almost second nature to root for the kids and their teams to have success.
“They became a big family,” Bain said. “Even though they’re pains, as you would say, they’re still good kids. You always want any of these kids to do their best and be able to succeed at what they do. I tell them all the time, ‘take this stuff, use it for your future and it will help you in the long run.’ You’re getting something out of (athletics). You may not think it, but you are. I love cheering them on.”
Bain has made it part of her job to know the kids with whom she has worked.
“I try to,” Bain said. “I came in Monday and I started asking, ‘who’s this, who’s that.’ And the kids will tell me. I’ll ask, ‘who’s No. 17’ and they’ll tell me who it is. That way I know the kids. Then, if I see them in the hall, I’ll say hi. Like Weston (Pettit) here, I know he likes to show sheep and he’s into ag. Another (student-athlete in the room) loves his YouTube videos. You get to work with them and you get to know them. Once again it comes back to that whole family thing here at Trace.”
“We’re very fortunate to have had Denise as part of our Panther family for so many years,” Hammond said. “We do wish her well as she takes on her new role at Lynchburg-Clay. She lives in Lynchburg. Her child attends school there. She’s a graduate of Lynchburg-Clay herself. She was working there part-time already as a school nurse. For Denise the move makes absolute sense and what’s best for her and her family.
“We wish her well in the future and she will be greatly missed,” Hammond said.
Bain and her husband, Jeff, have a 12-year-old son, Ashton, who is getting ready for the sixth grade at Lynchburg-Clay.