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Colts Cheerleaders get first athletic trainer

Jillian Hacker is the new athletic trainer -- and the first to hold the position -- for the Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders. (Provided Photo/Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Jillian Hacker was 16 years old when she was a patient at Methodist Sports Medicine, now known as Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics.

“That’s what got me interested in sports medicine,” Hacker said.

Fast forward 11 years and she’s now the first athletic trainer for the Colts Cheerleaders and is paving the way for women in the NFL.

She was introduced as the group’s athletic trainer earlier this month and also serves as Forté’s outreach services coordinator.

“This is my dream job,” Hacker told News 8. “We identify any slight problems we might have and then I give them exercises to correct those problems.”

Hacker, a former college gymnast, most recently coordinated care for the Purdue University Fort Wayne softball and women’s soccer teams.

When asked about being the cheerleaders’ first trainer as well as the first woman to hold the position, Hacker said, “It’s an incredible experience and it’s an honor. I’ve had so much fun working with this group of women and keeping them healthy for game day.”

Hacker says cheerleaders get some of the same injuries as football players, including stress fractures, tendonitis, and sprained ankles.

“A lot of people underestimate the athleticism that these performers need to go out and perform throughout an entire game and during the halftime performances,” Hacker said.

Hacker says her goal is to have a lasting impact on the Colts organization.

“Anyone that’s coming into Indianapolis Colts Cheerleading, I want them to know that they’re going to be taken care of and on all aspects,” Hacker said. “It’s going to be by the best medical providers in the NFL.”

Learn more about the squad and its scheduled appearances at the Colts website.