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In high school, I would say my thoughts were toward the medical field in some sort. I liked helping people, blood didn’t make me nauseous, a couple different things led me toward it. I thought about PT, I thought about nursing, didn’t want to do med school; so one of those two things wasn’t going to work. But being an athlete, tearing my ACL, working with my athletic trainer in high school a couple times, helped me realize that I could get paid to do sports and to help people, which was the perfect combination.
Working with people— whether they’re dealing with long-term injuries and getting back to something they really enjoyed before getting hurt, or dealing with something that has nothing to do with sports. A lot of people come in my office and talk about life. Being there for people and helping them through some of the toughest parts of their life while they’re here, from 18 to 22 years old, is pretty cool.
Least favorite I’d say is meetings. As the head athletic trainer, I have more meetings. I have more phone calls. I have more paperwork.
I learn a lot of things. People usually tell me that I taught them something, but I’d say that it is a two-way street for sure. I think working with the athletes is a great reminder that you never really know what someone is going through. People can be very strong academically, good at their sport, hard-working, and then you find out the kind of home life they have. It’s like, “Wow, you found ways to turn things around and make the best of what could have been a crappy situation.” So I think in the good, bad, and ugly of it, they definitely teach me that things are not always what they may seem on the surface, and it doesn’t hurt to take a little extra time to get to know somebody.
Find something in each day to enjoy. I know college can be tough. Transitions, changes, everything that comes with these years can be pretty tough. But I think, at the end of the day, if you can find something to look at and be happy about or grateful for— that’s good. Also, I think it’s important to not take life too seriously. These can be the best years of your life— don’t miss the good parts. I want my students to look back on these times and realize they were here for a lot more than lacrosse or soccer or whatever; they were here for a combination of all the great things that were able to happen.