As the Fairhaven Blue Devils football team celebrates its recent state championship, all eyes are on the coach and players.

A championship team, of course, goes beyond the players on the field. It’s also the parents in the stands, the outpouring of support from the community and, perhaps most importantly, the trainer behind the scenes.

Meet 29-year-old Acushnet-native Bethany Macedo, the athletic trainer for the Fairhaven High School Blue Devils. She’s the healer of wounds, reliever of cramps and an all-around valued asset.

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Macedo lives in Taunton but was raised in Acushnet, so this championship win hits close to home for her.

Courtesy Bethany Macedo
Courtesy Bethany Macedo

“It’s nice coming back home and helping the kids from Acushnet and Fairhaven and surrounding towns,” Macedo said. “We’re all one big family.”

First the Trainer Gets Trained

This is Macedo’s third year at Fairhaven High School as the certified athletic trainer, employed and contracted through Southcoast Health. She spends some hours at the hospital but is mostly stationed at the high school. Prior to Fairhaven High, she was a school athletic trainer at the now-closed Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River.

Macedo spent four years earning her bachelor's degree at Lasell College (now University) and another two years getting her master's in strength and conditioning at Bridgewater State University.

A Day in the Life

Macedo arrives at Fairhaven High shortly before school ends to prepare for the athletes to pop into her office for tape or treatment before practices or games. During each sports season, she covers both home and away games.

Courtesy Bethany Macedo
Courtesy Bethany Macedo

“There are some days when multiple sports are being played and I have to be in attendance at the highest-priority game,” Macedo said.

In other words, whichever sport could potentially be more prone to accidents or injuries is the one that gets her attention.

Experiencing the Championship

“The game was surreal,” Macedo said of the Blue Devils' Nov. 30 Super Bowl win over Salem at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. "Just walking into the arena and seeing the other team hyped-up and shouting while our guys remained calm.

"They were all business, focused and ready to go. What a great feeling it was seeing all the kids rushing out after the game and running up to their parents after the big win. It made me emotional. You could tell their hearts were in it, they wanted to do it for the town, for the coaches and the seniors, and it was awesome seeing their energy unfold out on the field.”

Hard Work Pays Off

Macedo said she, too, played sports in high school but was always interested in the "medical side."

"When I discovered that athletic training was a career where you can watch sports and help the athletes stay healthy and get better, I thought it was the perfect fit for me. Don’t get me wrong, it has its days when it's 30 degrees out and you have to sit there and watch the game, but it’s all worth it. Especially seeing the smiles on the kids' faces after winning the championship, knowing you helped to get them to where they are now.

Courtesy Bethany Macedo
Courtesy Bethany Macedo

"A lot of the parents and the coaches and even the kids, they’re always showing their gratitude for me, and I am thankful for that. I don’t do it to be thanked. It’s mostly a thankless job, but they do show their appreciation toward me and that’s always a nice perk. I’m just really proud of them. They worked so hard this season and I’m happy for all of them.”

Macedo kept the guys healthy all season long. She strives on helping them help themselves, reminding them to stretch often and stay hydrated.

The Fairhaven Blue Devils are lucky to have Macedo by their side, on the sidelines, and part of the family. She brings to the table a selfless ingredient that produced a recipe for success that gave the Blue Devils a fighting chance to win it all.

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