Olivia Heim (l) and Sydney Suppa are award winning athletic trainers

Savannah Adams – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – The Athletic Trainers Association of Florida (ATAF) awarded two LRHS Mustangs.

Head athletic trainer Sydney Suppa was awarded the 2023 ATAF Secondary Schools Athletic Trainer of the Year award.

Senior student athletic trainer Olivia Heim was awarded the 2023 Pre-Professional Student of the Year award.

Heim said Suppa was most deserving of the award.

“She goes above and beyond for all the student athletes and deeply cares not just physical health, but overall wellness which is shown through her commitment to mental health,” said Heim.

Suppa recalled how she started athletic training.

“When I was a freshman at Riverview High School, I randomly selected an elective called Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries. I had no idea athletic training even existed as a profession,” Suppa explained.

Heim commented on Suppa being a great mentor.

Heim said, “I’ve definitely been coached by the best with our head athletic trainer, Sydney. All the opportunities she’s given me have allowed me to flourish in my passion.”

Suppa thought back to why she got hooked on athletic training.

“I grew up playing sports and have always wanted to give back to the thing that meant the most to me as a kid. Sports medicine has allowed me to do just that,” Suppa added.

Heim is the fourth student at LRHS to win the Pre-Professional Student of the Year award. Nadia Cincotta in 2018, Lauren McGill 2020, and Reagan Gross in 2022 were also presented with this award.

Heim noted, “I love athletic training because I get to help people in a variety of ways. From quick first aid fixes during a game to long recovery processes from more serious injuries, you get to work with the best population, athletes.”

Stay updated on important LRHS news and share what you like by following our Twitter @MustangsAhead, Instagram @mustangs_ahead and follow the Mustangs Ahead Podcast

While surprised, Heim was very honored to be awarded.

“I am really excited about the opportunity it brings for me to network with other athletic trainers in the state,” Heim said.

Suppa believed she knew from the moment she met Heim she would merit this award.

“As soon as Olivia joined the student athletic training program her sophomore year, I knew that I would be nominating her for this award her senior year. She is one of the most incredible students,” Suppa explained.

Suppa described the characteristics which make Heim exceptional.

“She is intelligent, motivated, focused, kind, genuine, and the list could go on. I have no doubt she will accomplish her goals at the University of Florida and possibly work for the NFL one day. I am beyond proud of Olivia,“ Suppa commented.

Both will be recognized and receive their awards this summer at the 2023 ATAF Clinical Symposium in Kissimmee, Florida.