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Athletic Trainer Shaping Resilient Athletes at Downers Grove High School

Articles for Athletic Trainers and News StoriesAt Downers Grove North High School, Athletic Trainer Katie Dobersztyn brings a unique blend of expertise and empathy to her role, helping athletes not only recover from injuries but also manage the psychological impacts.

Katie DobersztynWith a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Millikin University and a master’s with a concentration in exercise and sports psychology, Dobersztyn's approach goes beyond physical healing.

Dobersztyn emphasizes understanding each athlete’s individual experience with injury, especially their psychological responses.

"Especially for athletes who have not been injured before, they don’t know how pain feels.”

To address this, she focuses on helping athletes articulate their emotions and manage their physical responses, such as controlling their breathing and heart rate in shock scenarios. This psychological insight stems from her sports psychology studies, which influence her daily practice. Dobersztyn noted about her educational foundation:

“Everything related to the psychology behind performance and the mental struggle, how performance works and how to get the best out of your preparation.”

The impact of Dobersztyn’s methodology is evident at the school, with Downers Grove North wrestling coach Chris McGrath praised her ability to stabilize and calm athletes during crises:

“She has that perfect blend of intensity but calm under pressure." 

Dobersztyn also focuses on building trust from the start, particularly by connecting with athletes early in their high school journey. By establishing relationships during freshman year practices and camps, she ensures that students are comfortable seeking help when injuries occur.

Her approach not only aids in immediate injury management but also fosters long-term growth and independence among athletes.

Reflecting on her career, Dobersztyn takes pride in watching athletes develop from their freshman to senior years, noting changes in their personalities and sportsmanship. Coach McGrath summed up her contributions:

“In any profession, when your unique skill set meets your knowledge meets your personality, you have something special. Katie loves sports, she loves medicine, she loves people and she is incredibly helpful and friendly.”

Through her dedication and holistic approach, Dobersztyn exemplifies the profound impact an Athletic Trainer can have on a community, blending sports medicine with psychological support to guide students through their athletic and personal development.

Read her whole story here