Story by Cloe Maurer
Associate Feature Editor
Photo by Katelyn Hernandez
SPHS athletic trainer Julius Murphy is no stranger to the setbacks and challenges of being an athlete. Murphy, recently hired, was a versatile high school athlete — competing in baseball, basketball, football, and track.
While playing football, he suffered a debilitating shoulder injury. Due to his high school’s lack of resources, it never healed properly and still causes him issues to this day. However, the old “silver lining to every cloud” cliche supervened without fail. The injury showed Murphy the difference athletic training can make, setting him on what would ultimately be his career path.
“Going through that rehabilitation process showed me how fun it could be as a clinician,” Murphy said. “You could actually change someone emotionally by just doing some work with them for a day and making them feel like they’re actually progressing and getting closer to their goal.”
Murphy’s athletic experience has shaped his holistic training philosophy; he believes in the importance of fostering a strong, trusting relationship with the athlete. Emphasizing preventative measures, Murphy takes the time to ensure that both the body and mind fully recover.
“I had a few players come in very unmotivated. They were thinking that it was the end of the road for them. I had the opportunity to express to them that they should take the rehabilitation [process] seriously, accept what we can do for them, and understand how it could help them mentally and physically get back to their sport,” Murphy said. “When they were healed and ready to play again, they were totally different people with different attitudes. Those are really great stories to tell.”
Now, Murphy is an experienced trainer with an impressive resume. He has worked for the Lynchburg Hillcats, a Cleveland Indian minor league affiliate, Liberty University’s Division I football team, and a small high school in Virginia. His interest in training high school athletes comes from a place of personal experience; Murphy’s shoulder injury showed him where he could really make a difference: high schools.
“I feel like the high school scene is really lacking full time athletic trainers and that drove my interest to get into the field,” Murphy said. “A lot of the time, high school athletes are still looking for that mentor, someone to look up to other than professional athletes. I think that’s where athletic trainers get to step in and be another person they can come to and give them some life lessons along the way.”
For Murphy, the student-athletes are the highlight of his job. He cherishes the chance to witness young athletes grow, change, and succeed in
sports and life. “The athletes are amazing. They drive me in here everyday,” Murphy said. “The smiles they bring and the ‘What’s up Julius, how’s your day?’ are the things I look forward to.”