by Lucy Gretsky & Elizabeth Skoletsky
From pulled hamstrings to sprained ankles to torn ACLs to everything in between, Mr. Chris Flores has treated countless injuries for WHS student-athletes.
For the past eight years, Flores has been the high school’s athletic trainer, working with athletes to prevent, diagnose and treat muscle and bone injuries. But starting next fall, Flores will no longer be the head athletic trainer.
He made the announcement public at the Booster Awards Dinner on May 17. Although the announcement was only told to the senior athletes, the news spread quickly around WHS.
“I’m going to be working full-time at my business, Flo Fitness,” Flores said. “Also, while I was here at WHS I created a system of doing rehab and a system of assessing athletes, creating rehab programs for them. I am going to pursue this and create a certification called Rudy’s Rehab and we are going to start presenting it around the country to other athletic trainers.”
Although Flores’ departure marks a new opportunity for him, it is also a time to reminiscence and thank him for all he has done in the WHS athletic department these past eight years.
“Chris knew that the mental part of an athlete is just as important as the physical part,” junior Mackenzie Smith said while discussing her ACL injury. “During a tough time in my life, that made a huge difference.”
Flores has worked with many athletes from linebackers to record-holding runners to top scorers. In addition to helping athletes, he has taught both college and high school interns as well as the other trainers about his job and how to do it.
“Chris was a great mentor to me, the other student interns, and especially the college interns,” said sophomore student intern Carlee Swanson. “Almost every day I learned something new regarding stretching, taping, or about the muscles and other parts of the body.”
Although Flores’ main purpose was to treat athletic injuries, he was also someone to go to as a friend. His trainer’s office was open to anyone who had questions about their health or who just wanted to stop by and say a quick hello.
“I’m going to miss all the fun, the banter back and forth with the athletes, and the crazy stories, pictures, or videos they bring me every day,” Flores said.
Junior lacrosse player Sydney Paoletti said Flores went above and beyond to help her. “Chris has always been available to help me,” Paoletti said. “When I hurt my knee this year, he let me come down to Flo Fitness just so he could take a look at my injury. It was completely after hours of his workday at the high school, but he was still willing to take care of his athletes.”
Flores’ sincere kindness and interest in the athletes will continue to impact the program.
“Chris has been a pivotal aspect of the success of Westfield athletics,” Paoletti said. “He deserves much more credit for everything he has done for all of us.”
These past eight years have had a significant impact on Flores’ life as he said he is “not a big fan of pro sports anymore because high school sports are so much more fun to watch.”
His positive attitude and remarkable personality have impacted the WHS athletic program, and we will miss the expertise, support and friendship he brought here every day.