MURRAY— Calloway County High School is full of staff members who work behind the scenes unnoticed. One of those unsung heroes is athletic trainer Jacob Vaughn.
Vaughn was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and has since moved 28 times, one of which was to Calloway County. An alumnus, he was in the band and on the track team.
Vaughn was undeclared for two years at Murray State before he chose athletic training and pre-physical therapy as his double major.
After getting his undergraduate degrees, Vaughn got a job in Monroe, Louisiana, as a baseball athletic trainer. While working, his employers paid for him to receive his master’s degrees in neuromuscular physiology and sports administration.
During this time, Vaughn married a girl from Madisonville, and the couple decided to move closer to home.
Coincidentally, the athletic trainer position at Calloway had opened up, and Vaughn was once again a Laker. He has been working there for three years now.
“For the most part, my day includes getting to work around 1:30 p.m. and, depending on the season, I could get home around 9, 10, and sometimes even 11 at night.”
Vaughn is required to be at most practices that take place on the CCHS campus but takes Sunday off. If multiple practices are going on at once, the practice pertaining to the most injury-prone sport takes priority.
“It’s a very demanding job, but it’s also very rewarding because you get to see kids develop not only physically, but you get to see what kind of people they end up turning into as they make decisions, some of them good, some of them bad and how they live with their consequences as they get older,” Vaughn said.
He said seeing kids get hurt can be stressful.
“When you first start out, it’s not as much, but when you start to develop relationships with these kids, you get to know what their desires are and their dreams are,” Vaughn said. “You hate to see it for them. I get stressed out, but it’s more the compassion and sympathy pains. You hate it for that individual. But at the same time, that’s what I’m paid to do, to get them back to where they need to be.”
Vaughn added that those who are interested in following a similar career path need to like people because that is who they will be dealing with all day every day.
“Do it because you want to do it,” Vaughn said. “Don’t do it because you (think you will) make a lot of money or get a lot of fame or anything else. You’re typically the unsung hero. You’re always in the background. Your name will never get brought up. You’re going to work the same amount of hours, if not more, than any other person in athletics. The money’s not always great, so you’ve got to do it because it’s something that truly interests you. You want to get in it because you want to help people, and if you’re doing it for those reasons, you’ll be fine.”
Senior Joza Mikulcik is interested in sports medicine and is mentored by Vaughn.
“There’s a lot of hands-on stuff, and it’s cool to actually get to do things” Mikulcik said. “He’s a really good teacher, and he’s good at explaining stuff. I’ve enjoyed learning from him. It’s actually been really productive.”
While Vaughn loves his job, he said he hopes to one day use his master’s and pursue a career as an athletic director.
But for now, Calloway is lucky to have Vaughn working behind the scenes of all of our athletic programs.