PHOENIXVILLE - Joanne Doherty is fulfilled by working 12-hour days as athletic trainer and interim athletic director at Phoenixville Area High School.
"You can't help but not get so involved in these kids' lives and their athletic careers that you can't help but care a lot for them," said Doherty. "Being on this side of the line, you can see how hard these kids work and the effort they put into trying to get better. When they get a pay-off it's exciting to see them rewarded for the hard work."
Part of Doherty's job as athletic trainer is to be that person during football games who runs onto the field to the side of an injured athlete to access and manage an injury.
"There is always a doctor and an ambulance available," said Doherty. "It's not like professional sports where there's a staff of 10 to 15 people designated to do a specific job. I never leave the field during a football game unless it's with the team."
As the athletic trainer for seventh-graders through seniors, Doherty's job consists of much more than assisting injured athletes.
"It's different for every kid in every situation," said Doherty. "Sometimes I'm a mom away from home, a shoulder to cry on, or a confidante one minute and a drill sergeant in their face the next.
"It all comes from trust," said the single 28-year-old. "The kids have to trust me and I have to trust the kids. By building up a relationship with them, I know how to react with them in each situation."
In her job as interim athletic director, Doherty is in charge of all scheduling, and rescheduling, as was the case recently when high school boys and girls basketball games needed to be moved at the last moment to other venues because of damage to the PAHS gymnasium floor.
She also handles bus transportation to sporting events and the ordering of equipment and purchase of everything from baseball bats to footballs. She also organizes Senior Night and ice cream socials for the school's athletic teams.
Doherty oversees Athletic Secretary Barb Vontor who handles athletic eligibility.
The 1997 East Stroudsburg graduate is also an athlete. She played field hockey at the college level and as a 1993 graduate of Twin Valley High School she participated in both field hockey and softball.
She is currently a member of a sport and social league.
Friends in the social league play volleyball, soccer, flag football and other sports.
The King of Prussia resident first became a Phantom five years ago.
"When I came here I didn't know anything about Phoenixville except that their colors were purple and white," she said. "But being here five years I feel like part of the traditions that they have built."
Doherty was part of the 2001 PIAA Class AA Baseball State Championship.
"I can remember winning big games in high school (as a player), but nothing matches going to a state championship," she said. "It goes both ways - the excitement of being there for that state championship was equal to watching our football team win the first game this year."
Doherty cherishes the personal relationships which she has established.
"You come into work because of the kids in the school," she said. "It's funny. Phoenixville has a lot of great athletes and athletic teams and in my position I get to be a part of all of them."
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