Kenny Brown: The Hidden Hero of Olathe East

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Mason McKenna

OE's athletic trainer Kenny Brown

Mason McKenna

Ask any student-athlete at Olathe East about Kenny Brown and you will quickly see how many lives he has affected. Not just an athletic trainer, Brown assumes many roles including those of a teacher, a coach, and a friend. The student body loves Brown for his willingness to always help in any way possible.

Brown spends most of his time treating OE student-athletes, however he also does middle school consults at California Trail and Pioneer Trail. 

“The nurse contacts me and I will go out there before I come into East to look at some kids and give them an idea of what they can do and what’s going on,” Brown said. After visiting the middle schools, Brown comes to Olathe East during Hawk Hour to continue treating students. He stays at East for the entirety of the afternoon before leaving to cover any games going on that night. 

“I’ll usually cover all the home games and I’ll travel with football,” he said. In addition, Brown will cover a variety of other games, including soccer, basketball, and baseball.

Brown attended K-State and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training. 

“I had a job lined up in Texas that fell through so I came back home because I’m an Olathe South grad,” Brown said. After working part time at Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex, a job opportunity opened up at Olathe East.

The five Olathe high schools are privileged to each have an athletic trainer due to an agreement with Olathe Medical Hospital. 

“I’m hired through the hospital and they have a contract with the school district and that’s what puts me at Olathe East,” Brown said. In fact, it was Brown’s relationship with his athletic trainer Dennis Dolan that pushed him toward athletic training in the first place. 

“I had a life changing injury when I broke my leg playing football,” Brown said. “Having my outcome with my athletic trainer and going through the whole rehab process led me to want to do the same for other high school athletes,”. Brown has been fortunate enough to work professionally with Dolan now that they are both athletic trainers in the Olathe School District. 

“He was at South when I was there but now he’s at West so it’s been really cool to work with him who got me started,” Brown said.

One often overlooked aspect of athletic training–especially in the highschool setting–is the importance of learning from the experience as a student-athlete. Brown understands this, saying “the biggest thing that I can teach someone to do is how to take care of themselves,”. Anyone involved in a sport at East has probably heard Brown talk about how to do just that.

“Everything starts with your overall nutrition, hydration, and how much you sleep. You can work out all the hours of the day but if you’re not taking care of nutrition and hydration or you’re not sleeping enough then it all goes out the window,” Brown said. For him, it’s all about the student learning and retaining something from the experience. For example, he wants students to understand that it’s ok to ask for help when you’re hurt. 

“A lot of times kids will go two weeks or so without saying something and by that point we’re trying to play catch up,” he said. Brown has a natural ability to be able to take an unfortunate situation and make it beneficial by giving students tools for later in life. That way, students learn to be more independent in their personal healthcare and how to persevere through adversity. “An injury is an obstacle so however you overcome that is how you’re going to overcome later things in life,” Brown said.

Brown’s dedication to helping others makes him great at what he does. He goes outside his pay grade in so many ways. His supportive personality makes him someone everyone would want in their life. Who wouldn’t want a friend who has the motto: “as long as I’m helping people then I’m where I need to be and I’m good to go,”?