Serving as athletic trainer to Mary Baldwin University’s student-athletes can be a frantic job, but it’s one that Marah Jones relishes. In fact, she gets to come to work every day and do the two things she loves most: Help people and watch sports.
Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, and raised in Staunton, Virginia, Marah graduated with a BS in kinesiology from James Madison University in 2010 and comes to MBU from nearby Shenandoah University, where she served as an assistant athletic trainer.
As an athletic trainer, Marah helps design prevention programs for student-athletes who may be at risk for injuries, as well as programs to assess, treat, and rehabilitate injuries in order to return an athlete back to the playing field as quickly and safely as possible.
“That’s the best and most rewarding part,” she says. “To see an athlete performing at a high level to sustain an injury to the point where they cannot do anything, and then work hard and rehabilitate their way back to 100 percent under the guidance of an AT.”
Her job is unconventional in that her day typically starts when classes are finished. Where most people have weekends off, Marah is getting ready for game days. This dedication to both her profession and MBU has formed lasting bonds between her and MBU’s student-athletes.
“Marah has been treating me since the second week of the season,” says Savannah McGavock ’22. “She encouraged me to stay positive no matter how many setbacks I had. Every day when I come to therapy, she’s always laughing or has a smile on her face. She’s so knowledgeable, and I always trust her to take great care of me.”
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Call Samuel Jeffries a mechanic, though one who tunes bodies rather than engines. Mary Baldwin University’s newest strength and conditioning coach was born in southern Maryland and graduated with a double major in athletic training and exercise science from Greensboro College. Samuel comes to MBU from Tysons Corner, Virginia, where he ran multi-sport programs for both professional and amateur athletes as director of sports performance at Perfect Performance NOVA.
Driven by working with athletes who want to perform at their best and are willing to work hard for it, Jeffries designs and implements year-round periodized training plans for each team on the MBU campus. Student-athletes are not only given strength training under his coaching, but programs focusing upon speed, agility, conditioning, and sports nutrition as well.
“Sam is disciplined, and his workouts are highly organized and sport-specific,” says Rene Ramirez ’22. “He demands the best from us. He is here almost every morning at 6 a.m. and he is constantly pushing me to find my full potential.”
Jeffries credits the new energy surrounding the athletic program at MBU as a great motivator. With most of the coaching staff being new, he relishes the opportunity to do his part in establishing a new culture around athletics.
“I love working at the D-3 level,” he says, “because I played at this level and I want to give each student-athlete the best possible experience at Mary Baldwin. I love having the opportunity to pass on my passion for physical training to each athlete, so they feel confident continuing to train and stay healthy beyond their athletic careers.”