Keeping athletes healthy
Half Moon Bay High School has hired a new athletic trainer after Jessica Markbreiter, right, resigned earlier this school year. Review file photo

Half Moon Bay High School announced last week it has hired a new athletic trainer. Taylor Leidheisl, most recently the athletic trainer at Cupertino High School, is expected to start in the next week or two, pending administrative clearance and facilities changes.

“We don’t have a hard start date at this point,” Half Moon Bay High School Athletic Director Brendan Roth said.

Leidheisl will fill the role vacated by Jessica Markbreiter, who colleagues and students say brought compassion and expertise to the position.

Roth said that the Cougar Boosters will fund 60 percent of the cost of the trainer, covering salary as well as equipment and supplies, while the district will provide 40 percent.

“The Boosters have been really motivated,” Roth said. “And the district has also recognized the value of having someone who is a medical expert be present for our student-athletes.”

Leidheisl will work inside the weight room where he will have access to equipment and treatment machines in a central space.

Roth said the hiring committee — composed of members from the Boosters and the administration — was looking for a candidate who would fit the needs and spirit of the Cougar community and student-athletes.

“We were really thorough in the hiring process,” Roth said. “We wanted to make sure, culturally, it was a really good fit here.”

Half Moon Bay High School Principal John Nazar said after narrowing down the applicant pool to two finalists, it was clear Leidheisl would be the best fit for the high school’s community. Leidheisl, a former soccer player at Ohlone College and Montana State University, in Billings, began his athletic training career after an injury ended his soccer playing days. Roth said his firsthand experience as a student-athlete gives him the compassion and empathy necessary for the job.

“Taylor really prioritizes getting students back on the field safely and has the students’ long-term health and safety in mind,” Roth said. “He is really focused on the whole student.”

According to Nazar, having a full-time trainer on staff is increasingly important, even in the face of budget cuts sweeping local schools.

“Athletic safety is a very high concern,” Nazar said. “And it’s not just football. Soccer is a high-concussion sport. So is basketball. We want to make sure that we can provide for our kids what we feel is the safest and best circumstances in which to participate.”

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