New athletic trainers arrive


Max Ozer starts his first year at Westlake as one of the new athletic trainers. Ozer came from Rice University where he worked with the football program as the assistant athletic trainer for the last two years. Prior to that, Ozer worked at Texas Christian University for four years and before that he was at Louisiana Tech. Ozer is originally from Princeton, New Jersey and earned his B.S. in kinesiology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.

“I came down South because there is good football,” Ozer said. “I have been working in college for awhile and decided to transition to high school last year. I saw the job online, then talked to some people about Westlake and the area, and heard some good things. Texas high school football isn’t such a bad place to be.”

During Ozer’s senior year in high school, he had a bad leg injury and got interested in the rehab and the science. He then learned more about the training. Ozer did athletic training for eight-and-a-half years at the college level and wanted a change of scenery to try something new.

“There are similarities and differences from college to high school,” Ozer said. “There is a lot more going on with Saturday college football games. There are a lot more people involved. Here it’s really just your football coaches and myself. Westlake has more of a family atmosphere as opposed to when you’re in college it’s more business-like.”

Michelle Derr was born and raised in Michigan and moved to Texas two years ago. The past two years Derr has been working in LaGrange ISD. Graduating from Central Michigan University and earning her degree in athletic training prior to moving to Texas, Derr worked at John F. Kennedy High School through Oakwood Hospital and at Walled Lake Central High School through Plymouth Physical Therapy Specialist. She then moved to Texas for her now husband, Chris.

“I was told by the athletic trainer at LaGrange High School that two athletic positions were opening up at Westlake High School and to not hesitate and apply right away,” Derr said. “The atmosphere here at westlake it completely different. Just when I was helping out with friday night football game, just completely different from Michigan and small town LaGrange.”

As a freshmen, she suffered from really bad shin splints from running track. Derr was constantly in the training room, and the athletic trainer suggested that she come in during football season to help out and learn about athletic training. This sparked her interest in athletic training.

“What made me fall in love with athletic training was being able to really make a difference in someone’s life,” Derr said. “Hearing past athletes tell you that you were one of the reasons they went into medical school, or physical therapy school or even Athletic Training is so amazing. It is also very rewarding for myself to see an athlete come back from sustaining an injury, competing in their final high school competition and then continue to play college athletics.”