Written By Dani Hawkett
At the Pan American Maccabi Games, many people will cheer for their favorite players or teams. Only a few will consider the people behind the scenes who help keep the players healthy.
Meet Julie Tucker, a certified athletic trainer for Maccabi USA. Tucker has been a part of Maccabi USA for 10 years and an athletic trainer for 12.
While Tucker was growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland, she had no idea what athletic trainers were. She discovered them at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and switched her major from business to athletic training because she said it “sounded cool.”
After graduation, Tucker worked for a company that was developing programs in the Maryland public school system. She assisted in the development of the athletic training programs in two different counties. She has since revamped the program at the private school where she now works, Sandy Spring Friends School.
Tucker found another outlet for her devotion to athletic training and she began working with Maccabi USA at the 2013 Maccabiah in Israel.
“I love Maccabi because it allows me to do something I normally wouldn’t do,” Tucker said. “It also allows me to voice things that I’m passionate about as well as advocating for athletic trainers in the medical profession.”
When Tucker isn’t traveling with Maccabi USA, she works internationally with other sport teams – primarily in rugby. In fact, this September, three months before she flies to Argentina for the Pan American Maccabi Games, she will head to France with the Atlantic Coast All Stars, a collegiate men’s team that will compete at the World University Rugby Invitational Tournament.
Tucker grew up competing in gymnastics, but admittedly didn’t know about the organization as a kid. She’s now grateful to have found Maccabi USA at this point of her life to represent athletic trainers on an international stage.
As she prepares to join Maccabi USA’s seventh delegation, Tucker offers this advice: “Be sure to look around and enjoy the moment and soak it up like a sponge.”
Dani Hawkett lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and is a recent graduate of High Point University in North Carolina. Follow her at www.maccabiusa.com