Coaching in a “boys world”

During the CIF game on Dec. 5, Michelle Avedissian is quick to act when player, Darrian Franklin, 11, is injured on the field, and both Kiefer Enslin , 11, and Camercon Carr, 11, watch over him to make sure he is ok. “Coach A is a very nice and cool person,” Franklin stated. “She helped me when both of my legs cramped up during the game.”

Sophie Prettyman, Staff Writer

This year, Ms. Michelle Avedissian, more commonly known around campus as Coach A, began working at Downey High as a sports medicine teacher, athletic trainer, and permanent substitute teacher.


Avedissian’s love of sports began when she was a child. Her natural need to burn energy and love of the competitive nature of sports led her to join her JV high school football team as a running back until she got an ankle injury.


“I was an extremely fast runner; I ran the mile in five minutes in high school,” Avedissian said. “I felt like the guys were a little jealous of me at first for being on the team, but my determination and hard work gained me a lot of respect from all of my male teammates.”


Avedissian also participated in varsity volleyball, track and field, and ice hockey. Her passion for athletics and interests in medicine and helping injured players convinced her to major in athletic training at California State University of Northridge. After finishing her general education courses, she applied and was accepted to the school’s Athletic Training program, a rigorous two-year program which only the top thirty students in her major were accepted into. She finally received her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training degree and passed the certification exam, officially making her a certified athletic trainer.


“A lot of the time, people think an athletic trainer is somebody who works in a gym helping people work out, which is not what I do,” Avedissian said. “Certified athletic trainers are medical professionals.”


As an athletic trainer, Avedissian helps athletes prevent injuries, assists them if they are injured during the game, and guides them through the rehabilitation process with physical therapy after they are injured. She can often be seen on the sidelines at football games assisting injured players with a Sports Medicine student by her side handing her medical supplies from her fanny pack.


“Coach A helped me recover from an ankle injury that I had for three weeks,” senior varsity football player Miguel Esquitin said. “With her help, I was able to finish my last season of football.”


Not only do student athletes enjoy working with Avedissian and appreciate her help but her co-workers do as well.


“She’s been working here for four months,” Coach Zessau said of Avedissian. “She’s doing a good job.”


Avedissian thinks that working alongside mostly male coaches, staff, and student athletes is a liberating feeling and appreciates the respect she receives from them. She says it makes working out on the field easier and more enjoyable.


“I felt like I had to prove myself in a sense, showing both coaches and athletes that I am just as capable of doing what a male athletic trainer can do,” Avedissian said. “I hope that more females will want to do this job [in the future].”


Avedissian’s dedication and passion for what she does along with her continuous hard work prove that athletics, athletic coaching, and sports medicine are not just for the boys. Now that football season is over, she will be on the field and on the court at other upcoming events such as soccer games, basketball games and wrestling matches.