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School athletic trainer profile

Camden Hills' Audet is pro kayaker, played for state champion football team

In his role in sports medicine, outdoor enthusiast has experienced unparalleled gold ball success at Camden Hills, Belfast
By Ken Waltz | May 11, 2020
Courtesy of: Jacqueline Russell/Chris Audet Chris Audet.

Rockport — Editor's note: You see them at school athletic events or practices. They are fixtures on the sideline — until they spring into action when needed on the field, court, diamond, mat, floor, track, course, slope, ice or poolside. They are the ones who help keep young student-athletes in the game. They are there to comfort, treat and support youngsters, from any school, who have sustained an injury, no matter how insignificant. They are fans of their school teams and student-athletes. They are extensively trained, eager and ready to administer sports medicine when needed — to lend a personal touch. They are the calm and reasoned when emotions and fear are high. This is one of a five-story series that takes a closer look at Midcoast school athletic trainers, the unsung, mostly behind-the-scenes, heroes — until they are called into action during a child's more traumatic, painful experience.

Here is a closer look at one of them:

Name: Christopher Audet.

Age: 48.

Years as athletic trainer?: 26.

Years at current school(s)?: Camden Hills Regional School 12 years and at Belfast Area School for the 10 years prior.

Town or city you live in/your family (significant other, children)?: Searsport, with my amazing wife, Jeannine, and our two dogs, Remy and Gracie.

High school and college/what school sports or activities did you do, year graduated, what studied in college?: I graduated from Concord High School in Concord, N.H. in 1990 where I played football, basketball and baseball. Our football team was New Hampshire state champions in the fall of 1989. I then went on to Colby-Sawyer College [in New London, N.H.] where I studied sports medicine/athletic training. I was a member of the first coed class at CSC and I played soccer and baseball. I graduated in 1994.

Why and how did you get in this field?: I became interested in athletic training when I was in high school. It was actually when I was watching Monday Night Football and [New York Giants linebacker] Lawrence Taylor sacked [Washington Redskins quarterback] Joe Theismann and shattered his leg [on Nov. 18, 1985]. I was glued to the screen and when I saw the trainer run on the field and go to work I was hooked. I also knew that I wanted to be involved with athletics and helping athletes.

What is your role, responsibilities and how far does your authority go (are you the one who decides who can play and who cannot play if in-game injury protocol)?: My role as the trainer involves Injury assessment, prevention, rehabilitation and strong communication between athletes, coaches and parents. I am fortunate enough to have an excellent athletic director in Jeff Hart and a topnotch coaching staff that are a blast to work with. We all work together to do what is in the best interest of our athletes' health. Through our great communication we are able to use a true team approach. We have a lot of trust and respect for each other.

Best and worst aspects of your jobs?: The best part of my job is working with student-athletes to get them performing at their best. State championships are pretty sweet as well. When a team I have worked with hands me a gold ball to help celebrate their success it is just amazing. The worst part is sometimes the days are very long and I have to eat my dinner reheated at 10 p.m. Small price to pay though.

Most rewarding aspect of dealing with young athletes?: The most rewarding part of working with students is when they have recovered from an injury and get back out in the field. And when they win a gold ball, of course.

Do you feel like you are part of the school teams, like a coach or mentor, or just a person with the team doing a specific job?: I do feel like part of the team. All teams to some extent. We have a lot of teams at CHILLS so it would be hard to be super close to all teams, but fortunately there are only one or two that I do not have a lot to do with because their injury risk is so low.

Hobbies, passions, other things you do that tell people more about you?: When I am not working at CHILLS I am a kayaker on the P&H Custom Kayaks Pro Paddling Team, Master Maine Sea Kayaking Guide, Recreation Guide, Wilderness First-Responder,  a Certified Advanced Open Water Sea Kayak instructor and Level 4 Whitewater instructor. I have been guiding for Maine Sport in Rockport for almost 20 years. I love teaching outdoor skills and playing in the outdoors whether it’s the mountains, rivers or oceans. Paddling, biking, skiing, climbing are my fun things.

You watch a lot of school sports, which are your favorite?: My favorite pro sports to watch are the [New England] Patriots and [Boston] Bruins and our hockey team here at CHILLS know what my favorite high school sport to watch is. I love all our sports and athletes. Don’t want to make anyone mad.

Do you have a favorite moment watching school sports, a personal or team achievement that makes you proud and happy?: There have been so many over the years. I truly have been blessed to work with some of the best coaches in the state.

In Belfast, working with an amazing football program run by Butch Arthers and Butch Richards we won two gold balls. Also in Belfast, coach Allen Holmes and his powerhouse field hockey program when they went undefeated for three seasons and won three gold balls. In Camden, working with Jeff Hart and his hard-working, super-skilled basketball teams, winning two gold balls in my first three years here. And recently coach Meredith Messer with her juggernaut of a girls soccer team. Four gold balls and counting.

It's not just championships I am proud of. Fortunately our athletes are always amazing me with their sportsmanship, grit and dedication. To see them band together when things are bleak and support each other, That makes me the most proud to be a part of these teams.

You obviously become fans of your school's teams, but your job is to focus on helping all athletes, correct? Do you become vested in the athletes and teams?: My focus is on the health and well-being of all athletes on our courts, fields and other venues. I treat opponents with the same care as my own athletes.

You are on site to be athletic trainer first, but I see so many of you do anything to help schools, programs. What are some of the "extra things" you do to help out not in your job description?: I am also a teacher and department head of the health and physical education department. I teach outdoor education and recreation. I also teach independent studies in athletic training for students who are interested in becoming trainers.

How are you personally dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and not being able to work with athletes and schools?: I am dealing with the pandemic by staying active and connected. I am meeting online with students on a regular basis. It’s not easy but hopefully we will be back on track come September. I do miss my athletes dearly.

Do you have other jobs or use your medical/athletic training in other ways?: I am a wilderness first-responder and a kayaking instructor and I teach outdoor ed at the high school as well.

Can you tell me anything else about you personally, what makes you tick?: The thing that makes me tick is to get students outside and active whether it’s a traditional sport or an adventure sport.

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