Hidden Hero of the Game: Trainer Larry Stahley

Community members regard Larry Stahley as a dedicated and kind member of the community, both on the court and in the classroom.

Stahley+poses+with+the+Gator+during+a+pep+rally.+Photo+courtesy+of+Grace+Papas+23

Stahley poses with the Gator during a pep rally. Photo courtesy of Grace Papas ’23

In sports, spectators see the flair. They see the calculating plays, the flashy movements, and the intense moments of an exciting game. When athletes win a game, spectators cheer for the players—and sometimes the coach. However, it’s not just this “flair” that creates the whole team. 

Many here at the School consider one unsung hero in the athletic to be Head Athletic Trainor Larry Stahley, who manages each team’s injuries and recoveries.

Stahley, who has worked at the School for eight years in total and five years full-time, has amassed a large workload. While most professional trainers only report to one team or sport, Stahley manages every injury coming through the Thompson Gymnasium’s doors. Students here consider Stahley an integral part of the athletic department, helping athletes have quick and productive recovery times.

The Class of 2021 voted Stahley the grade’s Honorary Class Member for his training and teaching during the 2020-2021 school year.

For Stahley, being an athletic trainer was a longtime aspiration.

“I graduated from Northeastern in 2012 with a major in athletic training, which is what I had wanted to do since high school when I had been dealing with some injuries and just working with some great athletic trainers, which was very inspiring for me,” Stahley said.

After graduating, Stahley joined Precision Atheltic Training, an agency that partners with various organizations and leased out different trainers. The School’s previous trainer, Christine Griffing, had recently just retired, leaving an open slot to fill. 

I really love all of what being the Head Athletic Trainer is: helping kids, but really being able to work with such a diverse population of kids on every level.”

— Larry Stahley, Head Athletic Trainer

With a well-respected trainer leaving, the Athletic Department had doubts about who could successfully fill the role. Once Stahley began working, however, administrators noted his immediate compassion and dedication. 

Stahley discusses exercises during a game with softball player Behare Goshime ’22.

“I really love all of what being the Head Athletic Trainer is: helping kids, but really being able to work with such a diverse population of kids on every level,” Stahley said. “At Brimmer especially, I really enjoy the community that we have, they have been very welcoming, and I am always grateful for how they’ve treated me.”

However, Stahley said his job is “not exactly carefree,” spending each school day managing injuries and helping out with teams for the Middle and Upper School.

“I would be lying if I said this job was easy, just because in high school there’s a lot of overlap between players and teams, and it’s also difficult because we have to coordinate different locations as well,” Stahley said. “I have seen some very scary injuries as well, including a tibular fibular fracture in the lower leg, a variety of ligament tears in the leg, and some pretty nasty concussions.”

Despite the challenges of his job, Stahley said he enjoys working at Brimmer, an environment much different than what most athletic trainers face.

“Athletic training is definitely something I see myself continuing in, even though this career choice does have a lot of burnout, especially at colleges working 6-7 days a week, going to games, working at 8 to 9 p.m.,” Stahley said. “I think the system here works really well, so I would love to continue to be a part of it in my upcoming years.”

Stahley assists Varsity I Basketball athletes during a game. Photo courtesy of David Barron. (David Barron)

In addition to the workload he manages on the athletic side, Stahley also works in the Middle School as a long-term substitute Science Teacher. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Stahley saw his role in the School significantly increase, taking on substitute teaching for Upper School courses.

“During COVID, I started taking on more classes to help out as a full-time staff member, taking on classes like Photography and Digital Cinema. It was also super helpful for athletes because I became sort of an all-day member, and I was available for them at any time,” Stahley said. 

Students and staff here have expressed gratitude for Stahley and his contributions to campus life as an educator, trainer, and community member.

“I see Larry as one of my best friends; he’s always open for me to talk to, he’s been great taping my ankles, and he’s a really nice person, so I’m glad to have him as a part of the community in my life,” Elijah Kinney ’23 said.

“I’m really thankful for Larry’s presence in the school, he has a fun personality, and he’s been super helpful with my injuries and preparing for different sports,” Leni Hicks-Dutt ’23 said.

For Assistant Athletic Director Tom Nelson, Stahley has proved an invaluable source of support and help for not only his Varsity Boys Basketball Team but the entire athletic department.

Assistant Head of School Carl Vallely speaks about Stahley's five years full-time at the School. Gator file video.

“He’s been invaluable in so many different ways. He’s easy to work with, he’s always empathetic and temperamental with the students, and he’s really good at not only healing injuries but preventing future ones,” Nelson said. “For the basketball team in particular, he’s been instrumental in working with such a small roster, and I can’t say enough about how committed he’s been to the team and the School as a whole.”

The next time you watch a game, take a moment to notice Stahley, waiting on the sidelines, arms-crossed, as the hidden hero of the game.