Update Dec. 22: The School Committee approved the naming of the WHS Athletic Training Room after Patty Hickey at its Dec. 22 meeting. Here’s a mockup of the plaque shared by Athletic Director John Brown.
Wellesley High School Athletic Director John Brown isn’t the mushiest guy I’ve ever met. But he waxes downright sentimental when speaking about Patty Hickey, the ubiquitous head athletic trainer who has been serving the town’s student-athletes for 40 years and retires this week.
“She truly thinks of every athlete as her own child,” he says. “When she talks about my football players, she means they’re her football players… she just cares about these kids, whether it be swimming or wrestling or you name a sport.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school system can’t throw a party for Hickey as it would otherwise have done.
But Brown and WHS Principal Dr. Jamie Chisum recently approached WPS Superintendent Dr. David Lussier with an even more special idea. They proposed naming the athletic training room in Hickey’s honor, and Lussier and Brown in turn made this request to the Wellesley School Committee this week (hear their comments starting at about the 1-hour and 56-minute mark of the Wellesley Media recording). The committee welcomed the idea, and now needs to proceed with the logistical ins and outs of getting it done, hopefully by the time it has its last meeting of the year later this month.
Brown said during the School Committee meeting that Hickey has dealt with hundreds of thousands of student-athletes across the state over her career, which has also included mentoring a roster of excellent student trainers.
He praised her thoroughness, whether it was treating athletes directly, calling parents if their kid twisted an ankle at a game, or emailing the administration if an athlete got concussed or needed to get in an ambulance for treatment.
John Griffith, a WHS fitness and health teacher, as well as football and track coach, echoed much of what Brown said when we exchanged email with him about the trainer.
“Patty Hickey will be a tremendous loss to our teaching and coaching community,” he says. “She was such a strong figure that brought knowledge, confidence and a kind heart to everyone she was around.”
He adds: “I remember countless times that she was brought to tears worrying about the health and well being of countless athletes over the years. As a head coach, I always knew my athletes were in good hands with Patty.”
Naming the training room in Hickey’s name, and putting up a plaque to formalize it, is an obvious way to recognize her, Brown says.
“Whenever anyone describes the door that comes into the building that’s outside the athletic training office, they call it coming in by ‘Patty’s room,'” he says. “If we’re going to say ‘come in by Patty’s room,’ why don’t we just name it ‘Patty’s Room?'”
Lesli Smith says
Seth Shulman says
Congratulations on your retirement. Can’t believe it. Wishing you the best in your next adventure. Your long lost friend. Missed seeing you last Spring and this Fall.
Anne Bates says
Well done! Patty impacted my life greatly as an athlete and student trainer. She is passionate about her job but even more so the athletes she served. Wishing Patty all the best in retirement!
Anne Bates (class of 1984)
Cindy Frey Perry says
I’ve known Patty since we were 12 years old! I can’t believe she’s been working at OUR High School for 40 years! She has always referred to all the students/players as her “kids”. She’s still a kid at heart herself. She’s going to be impossible to replace. I think they’ll need to hire a whole team…
Jacquie Sullivan says
Patti! Patti! Patti!
Having 2 boys playing across 5 different sports has given me the ability to get to know you well!
You are a true gift to us all. The athletes LOVE you! The parents adore you, we sleep better at night knowing you are always there.
You are an incredible trainer, not only due to your expertise but also because of your extraordinary ability to relate to both parents and athletes. WHS Athletics will never be the same without you.
Wishing you the best ,
Leon holt says
Patty Patty. Wow 40 years. Awesome. You are a true Red Raider!! I wish you the berry best.
Leon Holt class of 87’
Kirk Buschenfeldt says
Congratulations on a well deserved retirement! Patty is such a warm and compassionate person. I know she considers the Wellesley student-athletes as her ‘kids’, but she treats all competing athletes and coaches with the same compassion and dedication! Will miss seeing you on the court.
Donald Bagnall says
I went to college with Patty. She is a dear friend and a colleague/professional second to none. The integrity and professionalism she brings to WHS is a goal for the rest of the athletic trainers to work towards that follow her. it will take more than one to fill her shoes.
Patty’s impact on young people is immeasurable and certainly she has been paying it forward with them for years.
Congrats Patty !
Eric Cohen says
Patty kept all our athletes safe and happy throughout their high school athletics across six different sports. I always felt good when I saw her pick-up parked outside sporting events knowing we were in good hands. Any time our kids were hurt we’d tell them “Go see Patty!” Patty is loved by all and will be very missed on the field and in the gym. What a treasure she is. With all our love and gratitude- the Cohen’s (Ari, Dorian, Josh, Sadie)
Bob Brown says
Thanks for sharing this Eric, and your photos…