By Steve Sanders
© 2007 The Augusta Chronicle
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Joe Huff’s job seems simple enough. He’s the athletic trainer for the Augusta Lynx ECHL hockey team.
The job description, however, is endless.
In one of the most physically demanding professional sports, Huff alone is responsible for providing evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of a wide range of injuries.
But there are also more tedious and delicate aspects of his job, such as the everyday taping of ankles, the sometimes shaky psychology of young injured athletes and the pressure of the organization to win.
Lynx coach Bob Ferguson calls Huff the team’s busiest employee, someone who never has a day off. Captain Ryan Lang says he’s one of the guys.
Huff just calls himself “a jack of all trades and a master of nothing.”
“You just have to know a little bit about everything because you never know what’s going to happen,” he said.
Huff, 32, is in his second season with the Lynx. He spends most of his time tending to various and frequent ailments – of heads, shoulders, knees and toes.
He’s just about seen it all in his nine-plus years working behind a hockey bench.
“Everything from broken fingernails to broken bones and lacerations, you definitely have to be well prepared. I imagine he’s seen just about every type of injury possible,” said Ferguson, who is in his 25th year of coaching hockey.
One season, Huff had to respond to a player who cut the end of his finger off with a steak knife in a restaurant.
He has had to rush a player to the emergency room at 3 a.m. because of an allergic reaction to medicine.
“Most of these guys don’t have family around here, so I’m their first emergency contact. Usually, my name and my number are first on their list,” Huff said.