By Frank Rizzo
NEWBURGH January 2, 2001 I like to prevent injuries, Jill Hubert-Simon of Liberty joked, so I can watch the game.
The game on this occasion was the championship of the Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) mens basketball tournament, and Hubert-Simon, as always, was on hand before, during, and after the contest.
The one and only athletic trainer at MSMC in Newburgh, Hubert-Simon puts in as much as 14 hours in a day in the service of the athletic department at the Division III college.
When she came out of high school in 1989, graduating from Jeff-Youngsville CS Hubert-Simon said she did not know what an athletic trainer was.
As a standout softball pitcher at Elmira College, Hubert-Simon needed arthroscopic surgery before the start of her senior year.
She spent a lot of time with an athletic trainer during her recuperation, and decided on her vocation.
Ever since then it was what I wanted to do, she said.
Hubert-Simon did graduate work in her field at Indiana State, graduating in July 98. Jobs in the profession were hard to get only five of the 24 in her graduating classes had offers before commencement and she started at MSMC that September.
Hubert-Simon said her work involves injury prevention, injury care, rehabilitation, and education.
I teach athletes the proper mechanics, what they need to do to prevent injuries, she added. Most injuries will occur in practice. Only a small percentage happen in games.
The profession of athletic trainer, according to Hubert-Simon, came into its own in the 1970s. In 1990 it was recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health profession.
She hastens to add, I only evaluate [an injury]. The only person who can diagnose is a doctor.
Not only does Hubert-Simon attend every MSMC home game, she also admits that ideally, I should be at every practice.
Her Other Career
This past summer Hubert-Simon, 29, participated in her ninth Empire State Games (ESG), held in Binghamton, as a member of the Hudson Valley region open womens softball team.
To get ready for the ESG, Hubert played in the fast-pitch Northeast Seaboard Womens Softball League this summer.
As she has done for many years, she starts getting her arm in shape early in the year, using her dad, Paul, as her catcher. The two can often be found on the Jeff-Youngsville softball field.
Hudson Valley won the bronze medal this past summer. Hubert-Simon pitched in just one game, a 3-2 loss to Adirondack. She retired 11 straight batters at one stretch, and struck out three as she yielded five hits.
In the 1999 ESG, Hubert-Simon won two games and lost one in what she called her best performance. The previous summer, Hudson Valley won the bronze the first medal ever but she was not happy with the way she pitched.
Hubert-Simon has long been a favorite of longtime Hudson Valley coach Brealand Edwards, who attended and spoke at her wedding last summer when she tied the knot with James Simon.
She helped out the MSMC softball team last spring, working with pitchers and throwing batting practice.
Hubert-Simon does not know if shell be back at next years ESG or how long shell continue to play competitively.
If we win the gold Ill have to retire, she once said.