Team To Win Honors Exceptional Scholar-Athletes

Although California law requires high school student-athletes to obtain medical insurance for sanctioned events, many Southern Californian prep athletes have minimal access to quality medical treatment.<P> The financially strapped school districts of Los Angeles provide no sports accident insurance. On-site athletic trainers are rarely seen in the area, as most schools cannot pay for their much-needed services

The Team to Win Program at Centinela Hospital was created to counter the financial and medical barriers that students face as participants in high school athletics. Orthopedic surgeon Keith S. Feder, M.D., and athletic trainer Jill Sleight, ATC, founded the program in 1994.

"The ultimate goal of Team to Win is to minimize as much injuries as possible and attend to an injured athlete's needs," remarked Denise Davis, a publicist and secretary for the program. "We also help fund the salaries for athletic trainers. Most schools cannot pay for their services. Each participating school receives a minimum of 12 work hours each week".

Team to Win currently reaches 24 Southern California high schools and more are to join the program next school year, according to Davis. At the end of every school year, Team to Win honors outstanding scholar-athletes from the participating schools.

"We pick the best male and female student-athlete from each school. They are required to excel in both areas," Davis stated.

Two student-athletes who represent what the program stands for (success in athletes on and off the field) and possess the qualities the program seeks to honor are Alissa and Steven Eno of El Segundo. Fortunately, Alissa Eno (the school's female honoree) only had to use the services of the program once.

"I had tendonitis in my knee. The trainers treated me very well. It's great to have the program available to athletes," Eno recalled.

With her non-stop athletic resume, Eno cannot be faulted for developing a slight case of tendonitis. She was a rare four-year starter at shortstop for the Lady Eagles and played soccer and volleyball for three years. In her senior campaign, the leadoff hitter scored 20 runs and stole the same amount of bases and hit nine doubles while batting .360. Most impressively, she finished with a .987 fielding percentage at the demanding position.

What helps Eno to excel on and off the field is her tireless work ethic and focus.

"My grandparents and parents are strong role models and I model my work ethic after them. They take great pride in my success." Eno said. Steven Eno (El Segundo's male honoree) was impressed with Alissa's all-around athletic talents and her competitiveness: "She leaves everything on the field." he noted.

If anyone should know how hard she works, it is Steve her twin brother. The elder Eno (by 16 minutes) caught for the Eagles' baseball team. Like his sister, Eno also played soccer and also enjoys basketball and volleyball. He enjoyed taking a leadership role while wearing the "tools of ignorance" for El Segundo. In addition to his catching duties, he batted .332 stole eight bases and led the club in doubles.

Eno found enough time in his busy schedule to play football and led the varsity in receptions as an All-CIF tight end. On defense, he led the team in tackles. Eno plans to play both football and baseball when he enrolls at John Hopkins University in the fall. His sister will continue her softball career at hometown UCLA. She wanted to stay close to home so her parents and grandparents could watch her play. "Besides, I'm a beach girl!" she proclaimed. Her brother stated he was really excited to go back east and plans on having a huge phone bill keeping in touch.

Before they go their separate ways for college, both were honored together at Team to Win's 5th annual Scholar Athlete Awards Ceremony on June 1st, 2002.

"There was a big banquet at the Staples Center where we got a chance to meet celebrities and professional athletes," Steven recalled.

"We had an opportunity to meet the other honored scholar-athletes and received personal trading cards, which I thought was real cool," Alissa added. The male and female scholar-athletes from all participating schools were honored at halftime of a Los Angeles Avengers game.

When asked if she enjoyed football, Eno said she loved the sport and even played in the powder puff game at her school. She also enjoyed watching her brother play. This was no surprise as both stated on separate occasions that the other was "my best friend".

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