During the winter, Carly Jackson tries to keep pucks out of the back of her net as the starting goaltender for the University of Maine women’s hockey team.
This summer, her job was to try to keep baseball players on the field as head athletic trainer for the Brewster Whitecaps of the prestigious Cape Cod League.
The Cape Cod League is a breeding ground for major leaguers as some of the nation’s best college players participate in the wooden-bat league.
“It was one of the best jobs of my life,” Jackson said. “They kept us pretty busy, but being able to spend every day on the baseball field working with elite athletes, it was a joy every day.
“I did my research on the league and I knew it would be a lot of fun but it even surpassed my expectations.”
The Amherst, Nova Scotia, native said the Cape Cod League players were not only talented, they also were driven to perform at their highest level in order to get noticed by pro scouts.
“And they took care of their bodies to make sure they were able to perform every day,” she said.
Jackson said she is grateful to former UMaine baseball assistant coach and Cape Cod League Hall of Famer John Schiffner, the league’s winningest coach, for helping her land the job with Brewster.
As a student trainer at UMaine, she has worked with the Black Bear baseball team for several years.
“Our players love her,” UMaine baseball head coach Nick Derba said. “She is part of the team as far as we’re all concerned. She is incredibly intelligent.”
University of Maine head trainer Ryan Taylor said athletes tend to gravitate toward Jackson because her background as an athlete enables her to understand their concerns and she can sympathize with what they are going through.
“Coaches will tell you certain players have qualities you can’t teach. It’s the same thing in athletic training. You can’t teach people to be as observant and as intuitive as she is. She has that naturally,” Taylor said.
Jackson said her first inkling that she wanted to be an athletic trainer came while she was attending a game as a junior at Amherst Regional High School.
“I saw some medical personnel and thought that might be something I could be real good at it,” Jackson said.
She knew the University of Maine had an athletic training program and was recruited by UMaine for her goaltending so it was a natural fit.
“Once I started working [as a student trainer], I fell in love with it,” Jackson said.
Her hockey background is extensive but so is her baseball background.
Jackson will enter the upcoming UMaine hockey season with 90 games of college experience.
She has a career 33-43-11 record in goal with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.
Jackson has seven career shutouts, including three last season, and owns the single-season record for wins by a goalie with 17 during the 2017-18 season. She was an All- Hockey East honorable mention.
As busy as she was this summer, she still worked out every day at a local gym to prepare for the hockey season.
Jackson’s long-term goal is to be a Major League baseball trainer.
“I’ve got some work to do first, but it is definitely in my sights,” said Jackson, a silver medalist for Team Canada at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Under-18 World Hockey Championships.
“Working in the Cape Cod League is a precursor. It helped me realize this is something I want to do every day.”
Sue Falsone became the first woman to be named head athletic trainer of a franchise in any of America’s four major sports in 2011 when she landed the job with baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers.
Nikki Huffman currently is the head trainer for the Toronto Blue Jays.
“C.J. has a resolve you don’t see in too many people,” Derba said. “She has a chance to do something very special. When she puts her mind to something, she can accomplish anything she wants.”