New athletic trainer Nitfrancis Marrero starts her journey at MSD

Nitfrancis Marrero works diligently to tape an athletes ankle before their upcoming game. This provides stability, support, and compression for the ankle joint.

Rebekah Sasser, Photographer

When an athlete gets injured, the hidden heroes of the athletic department take action to support their needs: athletic trainers. Athletic trainers are some of the most crucial and helpful parts of every student athlete’s life. They specialize in the management, prevention and recovery of injured athletes and are usually the first on the scene after an injury.

Nitfrancis Marrero is Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s new athletic trainer, and she is excited and ready for the job and its responsibilities. Marrero was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where all her family currently lives. Since she was young, Marrero always had a love for sports, health and science leading her to become passionate about athletic training as a profession.

“When I was a senior in high school, I discovered the athletic training course, and it felt like the perfect mix between sports and medicine,” Marrero said.

She left Puerto Rico in 2013 at 23-years-old excited to further her education in this newfound love. Marrero received her bachelor’s degree in Puerto Rico and decided she wanted to further pursue her passion in the U.S. She landed in Pennsylvania and attended East Stroudsburg University to obtain her master’s degree.

“It’s not easy, I’m not going to lie. The hours put in are a lot,” Marrero said.

Before coming to MSD, Marrero worked for three years at Lake Worth Community High School before Covid hit and shut the school down. She had a lot of help when she first arrived as students and faculty showed her around and gave her all the information she needed to succeed. She believes that, in comparison with her previous high school, MSD has a larger student body and more sporting activities to benefit her.

“I have more people that I have to take care of, but I think when you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t feel like work,” Marrero said.

Marrero’s top priority is to take care of all her athletes and ensure their safety. She loves to make connections with the people she surrounds herself with. Teaching the people the knowledge she has acquired over time as an athletic trainer is something she aspires to do.

Marrero’s advice for anyone working towards becoming an athletic trainer is to know your top priority is to take care of people. Marrero explains an important characteristic for any new athletic trainers is compassion and taking care of everyone’s well-being and safety. She believes being able to keep composure is a key skill, especially when going into high stress situations.

“Putting yourself in a situation but at the same time having control and not letting your emotions take over is important. If somebody gets hurt, you have to keep composure and take hold of the scene,” Marrero said.

At the end of Marrero’s days, she enjoys going back home and seeing her young daughter and husband.

Marrero is excited to begin her journey at MSD and hopes to help all of her athletes succeed to their fullest potential.