‘We Want Andy!’: Athletic trainer Andy Sepulveda


Tyler Truong

PREPARATION GOES A LONG WAY: Athletic trainer Andy Sepulveda tapes up a football senior’s ankle for his game against Laguna Hills High School.

Jaycee Hendrickson, Sports Editor

Andy Sepulveda. If the name rings a bell, it’s likely because almost every athlete at Northwood has either visited her office or knows a teammate that has. Or, they’ve heard the “We want Andy!” chants ring across volleyball games, celebrating Sepulveda’s contributions as Northwood’s sole athletic trainer.

Sepulveda has a packed daily schedule consisting of medical paperwork and record keeping, restocking, attending meetings with fellow trainers and checking in with players. Appointed as IUSD’s lead athletic trainer in 2015, she also keeps track of district-wide athletic policies and assists with technicalities at fellow IUSD schools.

Besides the behind-the-desk components of her job, Sepulveda’s office is also swamped with a wave of student athletes after the school day concludes.

“We do eval and treatment on our injured players and then go to games or practices.” Sepulveda said. “Most people don’t know that we actually leave campus very late.”

As an athletic trainer, having a clear understanding of all procedures is highly demanding. Sepulveda must be able to recall specific protocols for concussions, return to play, basic injuries, lightning during games, heat and air quality issues and more. In high stress scenarios such as impact injuries, Sepulveda must also make fast-paced decisions concerning serious medical attention.

At the beginning of her collegiate career at Orange Coast College, Sepulveda was set to take the path towards medicine—not athletic training. But one thing that she always knew about herself was that she truly loved to be around athletics. Being involved in three sports throughout high school and collaborating with teams and like-minded athletes was a huge foundation in her life. It was not until her second year of college that she realized her interest in medicine, passion for sports and desire to help others could be combined into a single profession: athletic training.

“I took some sports medicine classes, interned at some schools and I just absolutely fell in love with it,” Sepulveda said.

She later took that passion to Chapman University and finished her upper-level education with a degree in kinesiology and an emphasis on athletic training. After graduation, Sepulveda made her way to Northwood.

Staying at the high school level after college was an unexpected aspect of Sepulveda’s career, but her newfound love for the age group made it hard to imagine being anywhere else. Here at Northwood, Sepulveda also trains current college students that are looking to become trainers in the future. When talking about the experience of taking interns under her wing, a bright smile spread across Sepulveda’s face and only one word came out: “amazing.”

Among her first trainees were students from her alma mater, Chapman University, and now with nearly 15 years of experience in the field, campuses such as Cal State Fullerton also partner with Sepulveda. Having the opportunity to watch her students grow throughout the semester has been one of the most meaningful parts of the job, as many of them continue to take on bigger responsibilities and even become her colleagues within IUSD.

As with any job, athletic training also has its downsides. In situations where an athlete experiences a season-ending injury, it falls to Sepulveda to tell the athlete. And despite efforts to fight her own tears, she often finds herself emotional as she breaks the news.

“When someone gets hurt, they’re upset, scared and they don’t know what is going to happen to them,” Sepulveda said. “I like to be that person that can help them and make them feel better.”

For Sepulveda, being at Northwood has brought a sense of community and love that she had never imagined. Above her multitude of responsibilities, she emphasizes her appreciation for those that she’s worked with over the years.

“Being here for 24 years, I love it when the athletes come back and visit me,” Sepulveda said. “It’s so meaningful to me.”