Athletic Trainer Mike Roche has earned national honors for his focus on athletic training, pandemic wellness protocols and keeping Grand Rapids Community College student-athletes safe and physically prepared during a season both historically challenging and successful.
Roche this week was named National Athletic Trainer of the Year by the National Junior College Athletic Association, which goes to an athletic trainer “who best exemplifies the overall purpose of leading an institution, athletic department, and student-athletes through athletic training.”
The honor comes in a year where five of GRCC’s eight teams participated in national tournaments while following strict protocols aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“This past year has been a rough one for everyone, but especially our student-athletes,” Interim Athletic Director David Selmon said. “Mike has taken the time and effort to make sure our athletes have been as safe as possible in order to participate in their sports. He has been the lead of our COVID team within the department and has done an excellent job keeping everyone as safe as possible. Without him, none of our athletes would have been able to even step foot on the court or field.”
Roche has served as GRCC’s athletic trainer for 26 years, supporting about 150 athletes each year in partnership with physicians and medical specialists. He also oversees student trainer interns, NJCAA compliance requirements, equipment and uniforms for all of the college’s teams.