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Casey Riley Is Homeward Bound

Mercer Athletic Trainer Returns Home To Owen County

Casey Riley holds the Lady Titans’ 2018 State Championship trophy with Athletic Director Donald Wayne Smith. (Image submitted).

Sam Warren

Herald Staff

Casey Riley, Mercer County High School’s athletic trainer, has decided to move back to her hometown of Owenton and become the Owen County School System’s full-time athletic trainer.

Riley says she will miss Mercer County deeply and is sad to leave, but at the same time, she is happy she can move back to Owen County. She met her husband at Owen County High School and now they are glad to return after 12 years.

“There are so many emotions and feelings about this move. I am sad, heartbroken, excited and very happy. I love all of my athletes. I have just finished up my sixth year so I have really had a chance to get to know all the athletes, coaches, staff and all the families. It is hard to leave that,” said Riley.

Riley’s family is very important to her and she wants her family to be closer to her two children, Clara and Jasper.

“A large majority of both our immediate families live in or around Owenton, so we are excited to get back and have our two kids grow up with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins,” said Riley.

Riley is set to become the Owen County Rebels’ first full-time athletic trainer. She said they have had a part-time person for more than 15 years, but have never had someone to take care of their athletes on a day to day basis.

Covid-19 conflicted with the timing and the circumstances of Riley’s departure. She had planned on being able to say goodbye to her athletes in person, but due to the lack of spring sports, she couldn’t.

“With COVID it made this decision even more difficult. I was contacted about the possibility of the job in March. I thought I had three months to settle and accept the fact that I was leaving; hug my athletes, say goodbye. Covid took that away. My goodbye was said on social media for most and that is heartbreaking,” said Riley.

Riley and her family moved to Mercer County in 2014. The relationships that she developed in Harrodsburg means a great deal to Riley. She feels that they have built a new family since moving here. Riley’s daughter, Clara, was a baby when they made the move and her son, Jasper, was born three years later, so her children have been a part of the Titan family their whole lives.

“We didn’t have family here when we first moved, but we definitely built a BIG, great family during our time here. Everyone says it takes a village to raise kids and that’s 100 percent true,” said Riley.

The effect Riley has left on Mercer County athletes and coaches is one of healing and friendship. Athletes came to Riley every day so she could prepare them for practices, games or a return to sports after an injury. Whether she was on the field, court or in her office at the Mercer County sports complex, athletes of all sports looked to Riley for comfort and conversation. There were many athletes who came to the complex to see Riley every day, and some of them were completely healthy.

Riley’s office in the sports complex was always buzzing. Before football practices specifically, her office was packed with players wanting to be wrapped and taped, or just there to hang out.

“My door was always open. I have the greatest memories of kids coming in my office, some would come in before practice just to say hey and tell me about their day, others after practice for treatment, and some just coming in to hang out with those getting treatment. There were song battles, dance parties, long chats and just fun that happened in my office on an almost daily basis,” said Riley.

Mercer County Senior High School Athletic Director Donald Wayne Smith is very happy for Riley and spoke about her trustworthiness and care for the athletes.

“I’m happy for her like always, but its a big blow to us. She (Riley) had become family and been here so long, you trust and believe in everything she stood for,” said Smith.

Riley has impacted the lives of many Titan athletes throughout her six years here, and many of her friends are happy for her to get this opportunity, one she thought would never happen.

“I have loved my time at Mercer County. When we moved here I thought this was where I would spend the rest of my career. My family was accepted with open arms and taken in as one of your own and I can’t thank everyone for that enough. I never thought I would return home to my little town, but the opportunity was just too good to pass up. I look forward to continuing to watch Harrodsburg and Mercer County Schools grow and develop. I wish everyone all the best, always,” said Riley.

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