CWU’s dynamic athletic trainer duo

Isaac Perry. Photo by Jacob Thompson, Thompson Sports Photos

Isaac Perry. Photo by Jacob Thompson, Thompson Sports Photos

Tre'Jon Henderson, Staff Reporter

CWU athletic trainers Isaac Perry and Annie Espinoza share their passion for athletics. Perry, long-time assistant since 2014 appointed head trainer in 2017, and Espinoza, a year removed from her 2022 graduation, lead the school’s athletic training staff. 

Specializing in football and men’s basketball, Perry shares a look behind-the-scenes into what goes into his job. 

“Especially [regarding] high contact sports teams, really any day someone could be seriously injured and you have to deal with it,” Perry said. “When those things happen, it’s our responsibility to help the student-athlete make that process smooth and easy for them. We help them along the way by doing everything we can to try to get them back healthy, as quickly as we can.”

Perry attended Fresno State University during his undergrad years and continued his education as a graduate student at Chico State University. While California is one of the bigger states in the country, Perry found the adjustment process of moving to Ellensburg to be quite smooth, given his familiarity with small-towns while living in Santa Cruz. 

“I grew up in a pretty small town, probably even smaller than Ellensburg,” Perry said. “[Because of that] the small town didn’t really put me off at all … Fresno State was great, it didn’t have a big city feel so that’s why I liked it there. But then I think I wanted to even get a little bit more of a smaller town feel, and that’s kind of what attracted me up here.”

Espinoza, on the other hand, stayed local during her college years. She completed her undergraduate degree at Washington State University and then found her home here at CWU when she came to finish her master’s degree. Espinoza grew up playing sports but, given the size of her high school, she never had an athletic trainer. 

“I went to a small high school where we didn’t have an athletic trainer, so I really didn’t know athletic training was a thing,” Espinoza said. “When I realized what it was, I realized ‘oh, that’s something that’s really important.’ I just think it’s really important for athletes to have access to this kind of care, so I felt like athletic training was a good way for me to stay involved in sports and then get into the health and medical side of it so I can then provide care for other people.”

Espinoza announced her pregnancy to the football team during the early days of their season, but maintained her work with the team. She continued to travel with the group and do her job.

“I don’t think [the pregnancy] could have been timed better, I really lucked out,” Espinoza said. “We did most of the traveling when I was in my first trimester and early second trimester, so I wasn’t at the point where I was super uncomfortable or anything yet. I feel like I didn’t have a ton of limitations from the pregnancy to effectively do my job.”