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A spirit that is not afraid

Campbell eases pain with compassion

Assistant athletic trainer Cindy Campbell helps Auburn soccer players take a licking and keep on kicking.

Responsible for preventing, treating and reconditioning injuries, Campbell's job keeps her working long hours behind the scenes.

"I'm kind of one of those people in the background probably a lot of people don't see," Campbell said, "but I know everything I do affects the team and means something to them."

Campbell said her job requires a lot of compassion, hard work, commitment and long hours, making her the first in and the last to leave most days.

Despite the demands, working as an athletic trainer is a goal realized for Campbell.

A soccer player in high school and college, Campbell has experience with the pain involved in the sport.

"I had suffered several injuries," Campbell said. "I never really had someone to take care of me, and so when I went to college, it was just kind of a passion that I had to take care of injured athletes and kind of stay in the athletic field."

Campbell, a native of Cape Coral, Fla., attended Lincoln Memorial University, graduating in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in athletic training.

In 2007, Campbell received her master's degree in exercise science from the University of South Alabama.

She stayed on at South Alabama as an assistant athletic trainer from 2007-2008, working with women's soccer, women's basketball and softball.

Campbell said she has always loved soccer and the competition involved with it.

"It's physical," Campbell said. "It's intense, and then it's a team sport, too. I think it encompasses everything."

Campbell said being an injured athlete has given her insight into the world of athletic training.

What makes her happiest is getting athletes back on the field doing what they love to do.

Campbell's biggest challenge as a trainer comes when an athlete gets injured.

"You see them fighting day and night, all day long," Campbell said, "and they put so much work and effort into it, and then they step on the field, and they get hurt."

For Campbell, being there for the players is what she enjoys most about her job.

Campbell said off the field, athletes are a goofy group, making their interactions a lot of fun.

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Campbell said it is important to her to make the training fun for the athletes.

"You've got to make it a place that, not necessarily they want to come because they're injured," Campbell said, "but when they're injured they're not dreading the fact that they have to come to that training room."

Senior soccer player Sammy Towne said Campbell contributes to the team's happiness on and off the field.

"I love being around Cindy," Towne said. "I don't mind being in the training room if there's something wrong with me because it's not a problem, not with her."

Towne described Campbell as compassionate, lovable and extremely trustworthy.

"She's helped so many of us on the team just come back from injuries," Towne said. "She's there for us if we need her for personal reasons. She doesn't judge us. She's funny, and she's comical. She likes to crack jokes with us."

Towne said when she was in the hospital in February, Campbell stayed with her the entire week before her parents could get there.

"I think a lot of people-- the whole medical staff--doesn't get enough credit," Towne said. "People don't see what happens behind closed doors, and they're always there putting in hours to keep us on the field for 90 minutes."

Campbell said she didn't have specific goals for the future.

"I just want to become better as an athletic trainer, you know, and continue to get the athletes back quicker and do everything I can," Campbell said.

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