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'The Athletes I Work With I Consider My Sons and Daughters'

Articles for Athletic Trainers and News StoriesWhen it comes to sports, at nearly every level, the spotlight often shines brightest on athletes and coaches. So, we like to recognize Athletic Trainers, like Matt Cannella, Christy Tapps, Dan Harrison, and Kelly Wendelberger of Northwest Missouri State University, for all their hard work! 

Aaron Hare Asst Photo EditorThese ATs are indispensable, providing comprehensive care that encompasses everything from psychological support to emergency medical attention.

Christy Tapps, assistant Athletic Trainer, modestly emphasized the crucial yet understated role they play.

"We're the team behind the team for a reason. We don’t deal well with actual recognition, but I think just getting that awareness out there about our profession and what we do is what's most important to me.”

These healthcare professionals are the backbone of their teams, not just managing injuries but also ensuring athletes remain mentally and physically prepared to face the challenges of their sports.

Their work extends far beyond the sidelines; they are involved in every aspect of the athletes' well-being, from rehabilitation post-surgery to the application of a simple piece of tape.

The journey to becoming an Athletic Trainer often starts with a personal connection to the field, as was the case for Dan Harrison, who was inspired by his high school AT. This passion leads them to places like Northwest, where the family atmosphere and the sense of community bind them not only to the institution but also to the athletes they serve.

In an interview, Tapps highlighted the deep and personal connections formed between the Athletic Trainers and athletes, especially after a season-ending injury: 

"I would be lying if I didn't say that there have been times, after that moment, I get home at night, and I just constantly feel for that person because we get to know them so well. The athletes I work with I consider them my sons and daughters." 

But their role is not without its challenges. Witnessing athletes face setbacks, especially season-ending or career-ending injuries, can be heart-wrenching.

Yet, it is this very aspect of their job that underscores their importance. They are there to offer hope and assurance at the most critical moments, embodying the commitment to care that defines their profession. Cannella explained:

"When, in that moment, when we're walking them off the field, and I'm saying, ‘Hey, don't worry. I've got you,’ they understand and they appreciate that fact."

As National Athletic Training Month celebrated these vital contributors to sports, it's an opportunity to acknowledge their profound impact on the lives of athletes.

Athletic Trainers like those at Northwest embody the spirit of dedication and care, ensuring that athletes not only perform at their best but also receive the support they need in times of vulnerability.

Cheers to you and thanks for all that you do! 

Read the full story here!