When everything's going well at Lawrence High's football games, he goes unnoticed on the sideline. When someone's hurt, Matt Comeau becomes a popular figure for the Lions.
Comeau has kept busy the past couple of weeks while helping the Lions' top two running backs -- Garrett Attig and Thomas Daniels -- recover from injuries sustained in the second week of the season. Both are expected to start this Friday against Shawnee Mission West.
"Now that somebody's around, we check on every little thing," said Comeau, a certified athletic trainer and Kansas certified EMT, working with LHS athletics this year.
Comeau works mornings at Mt. Oread Rehabilitation Services, which has contracted him to the high school. Ross Grigsby served as Lawrence's athletic trainer last year while working on a degree in biology at Kansas University.
"My main responsibility is varsity football, but I'm here for all the athletes if they need me," Comeau said.
Comeau spends four hours a day at the high school Monday through Thursday, arriving at 2:30 p.m. and staying until 6:30. On Fridays when the Lions play football, he works 3-11 p.m.
"It reduces the liability on insurance," Comeau said. "I think it eases a lot of the kids' minds.
"A lot of 6A schools in the Kansas City area have had athletic trainers a couple of years. Athletics training in high school is an avenue that hasn't been open very long."
Comeau, a 1988 graduate of Plainville High, received an undergraduate degree in exercise science with an emphasis in athletic trainining and a graduate degree in biomechanics and exercise physiology from KU.
"I was looking to stay in the Lawrence area," said Comeau, hired in July as the school's athletic trainer. "It's a good community, good tradition here with Lawrence High with the athletes and quality coaches."
Comeau has been interested in the athletic training field since high school.
"I had an opportunity to play college football but wanted to concentrate on my education," Comeau said. "What better way to still participate in athletics than be a trainer. You don't have to go through the work and if the team is successful you get to enjoy all the goods with it."
For the most part, LHS athletes have avoided serious injuries.
Kelly Miller, a senior on Lawrence's varsity volleyball team, had the most serious injury among the fall sports squads. She injured a knee just before the season started and returned to action last week at the Shawnee Mission North quadrangular.
"She's doing well and has been able to come back and play," Comeau said. "Hopefully she'll be able to finish out the season."
In the winter sports season, Comeau will help with boys and girls basketball. In the spring, he will help with baseball.
However, Comeau won't be restricted to those sports.
"If other sports need me, I'll be around," Comeau said.