Since Day One - Head Athletic Trainer Shawn DuMers
By Scott Popp
It’s a sunny, hot, June morning at the Shawnee Mission South soccer field. It’s about 90 degrees and the sun is beating down on the turf field. FC Kansas City players are receiving instruction from head coach Vlatko Andonovski about the next practice drill that’s about to take place.
Off to the side, Blues forward Shea Groom is leaned over the training table. FC Kansas City head athletic trainer, Shawn DuMers, is grabbing some tweezers from his trusty medical bag that’s always on the sideline, open, and ready to go. There’s a tick on Groom’s back that needs to be removed. DuMers removes the tick, places a bandage on Groom’s back and she’s back to practice.
The sequence of events between DuMers and Groom is a common site at FC Kansas City practices…well, besides the tick. DuMers has been treating, taping, massaging and rehabbing Blues players on the sidelines since the beginning.
“I’ve been with the team all five seasons,” DuMers said after a recent practice. “And I’ve been an athletic trainer for almost 10 years.”
Helping Blues players on the sidelines during practice is just one of many things DuMers does as the teams’ head athletic trainer.
“I get here bright and early in the morning, get everything set up, get the treatment plans ready to go. We then get practice set up; water bottles, Gatorade, ice and all of that and get everybody ready to go and taped up. Then we get out here and cover practice and take care of any injuries or rehab. Once we’re done we take care of any extra rehab after practice and documentation and that sort of stuff.”
After getting his Masters degree at the University of Central Missouri, DuMers got his start in athletic training around ten years ago as the athletic trainer at North Kansas City High School.
From there, he continued to work his way up to his current position as head athletic trainer of the Blues as well as Kansas City’s indoor soccer team, the Missouri Comets.
“I was at North Kansas City for five years, at the same time I was with the Kansas City Comets as an assistant and then I was doing the Comets, FC Kansas City and the high school at one point. Then it kind of transitioned to just the Comets and FC Kansas City.”
DuMers said it was always his goal to move his way up through the athletic training world to work with professional sports teams.
“It’s always been a passion or goal of mine to get to the top levels,” DuMers said. “I love it. I love doing my job. The people who are here obviously have a drive. They want to get better and back on the field.”
At the professional level, many athletes work to be as big, fast, strong and physically fit as they can be. DuMers said he loves to see what he can do as an athletic trainer to make sure the Blues are performing at their best.
“What I love about doing this the most is seeing the difference I can make in these players and getting them healthy and getting them back on the field,” DuMers said. “It’s just what I love to do.”
DuMers said it is a total team effort that goes into helping the players, with help from the strength and conditioning staff as well as Select Physical Therapy, who employs DuMers in conjunction with FC Kansas City.
This is the first season that Select has partnered with FC Kansas City. They are now the exclusive provider of physical therapy, hand therapy and athletic training services for the team.
DuMers also said the Blues attitude and willingness to work with him helps tremendously.
“You have to give credit to (Andonovski), he’s a great coach to work for and a great person,” DuMers said. “It’s also nice to be out here with these ladies that are extremely respectful, extremely dedicated and are willing to put in the time and effort for me to do my job. It makes a significant difference.”
To do his job, DuMers knows he has to put in as much dedication and effort as the players. That’s something he couldn’t do without the support of his family.
“As much credit as I give to the coaches and players, I have to recognize that my job starts with the backing of my wife and son. When I get back from a brutally hot practice session or from a long road trip, I know the first thing I see will be their smiling faces welcoming me home.”
As for the hot summer temperatures he has to deal with every practice, DuMers turns to his trusty camouflage bucket hat.
“It’s a great sun-block,” DuMers said. “My father was in the military and I actually snagged it from a friend over at SoccerFIT. He used to be in the military as well and he said ‘Hey you should have this’. I like it. It blocks the sun and keeps my head cool. You can imagine how hot it can get standing outside six or seven hours a day.”
DuMers and FC Kansas City will now travel to the Pacific Northwest for a pair of matches. They take on the Seattle Reign Saturday and then head to Portland for a midweek matchup against the Thorns. Both games will be streamed live on go90.com and the go90 app (available on iOS and Android platforms). FC Kansas City returns home for Military Appreciation Night on July 2nd. Tickets are available to purchase here.