When Scott Siddon took a summer job at Hamilton in 1989, it’s unlikely he could have guessed that it would lead to a career here. Scott, an undergraduate majoring in biology and minoring in athletic training at SUNY Cortland, worked as an athletic trainer for the seven-week camp season. But one summer on the Hill led to another, and soon Scott had received his degree and then a master’s. A year later, in 1995, he was hired as a full-time assistant athletic trainer, and before long he became head athletic trainer.
Scott, along with three assistant trainers, is based in the sports medicine clinic, site of the former fitness center. “This is probably one of the best facilities in Division III sports on the East Coast,” Scott says. “We’ve been here six years now, and it’s at least four times as big as what we had before. The architect told me, ‘Here’s your space; how do you want it?’”
From his office adjacent to the clinic’s main room, Scott describes his day-to-day responsibilities, which focus on injury prevention as well as rehab. “While no day is exactly the same, mornings are filled with student-athlete injury evaluations and rehabilitation, discussions with coaches about the status of players, calls to the doctors’ offices and administrative duties,” Scott says. Later, there are practice and game preps in the clinic, including taping lots of joints, before he heads out to an athletic field or court to join the players.
“Right now,” Scott says, “I’m kind of a slave to football.” It’s one of three collision sports at Hamilton — along with men’s ice hockey and lacrosse — and NESCAC requires that a trainer attend every practice and game, both home and away, since “too many things can go wrong.” During the winter season, Scott covers a variety of teams’ home athletic contests. He’s back on the road in the spring, though, with men’s lacrosse.
On the job, Scott most enjoys interacting with Hamilton students. “They are interested in learning at any opportunity,” he says. When an athlete is injured, Scott educates students to help them understand why it’s important to adhere to a treatment plan. But he also appreciates the importance of keeping things light: “They joke and we joke back; I don’t want them to be afraid to come to us.”
Scott was scared himself once when something went very wrong during a men’s soccer game. “Two heads hit together. It was accidental, but our player was knocked unconscious and convulsing,” he recalls. “Everything turned out well in the end, but recovery included an eight-day hospital stay and reconstructive surgery.” On a positive note, Scott remembers with pleasure the day the 2008 women’s lacrosse team returned after winning the NCAA Division III national championship. “It was awesome; the looks on their faces said it all.”
Away from work, Scott enjoys spending time with his wife Cindy and their two children, Mackenzie, 10, and Cooper, 7. Cindy runs a greyhound rescue network, so it’s no surprise that the family also includes four dogs: two greyhounds, as well as a Galgo (Spanish greyhound) and an Irish lurcher. Scott keeps busy with a series of home improvement projects. “It’s a joke in our house,” he admits, “that I start something and it takes forever for me to finish.” While the five-year garage project is pretty much done, the fireplace has a long way to go.
Scott says that if he weren’t at Hamilton he’d be “starving as a wanna-be sitcom writer,” drawing from his varied experiences on the Hill. “Sometimes I ask myself, ‘Did that really just happen?’” he says with a smile. “Certain situations feel like they could have been on a show that ran for a year and then got cancelled.”
But Scott isn’t finished collecting stories. “This is a good place to work,” he says. “It’s been 22 years — that’s half my lifetime — and I’m only half-way through my career.” So next time you’re walking past the clinic’s wall of windows, look in and appreciate all that goes on there: the Continentals’ student-athletes (and the summer campers) are in good hands, now and well into the future.