HOW DID YOU COME TO LCA?
I was introduced to LCA through my uncle who was my Youth Pastor growing up. I assume LCA notified the local church community that they were looking for an Athletic Trainer. When my uncle called me to tell me about the job opportunity, I was in the middle of football and soccer season working with 7 teams in Taunton, MA. I did not want to leave the kids in the middle of the sport season so I passed on the job. The next summer I was covering Northeastern University’s (my alma mater) field hockey camp, and my uncle reached out to me again. I was not truly happy with my job situation at the time, so I figured I would try and see what would become of it. When I called to set up an interview with the Athletic Director, Steven Heintz, we ended up chatting for about 30 minutes. And the rest is history. I’ve been at LCA for 20 years.
YOU’VE BEEN AT LCA FOR 20 YEARS? WOW! WHAT ARE A FEW HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR TIME AS THE ATHLETIC TRAINER?
My first crazy highlight was from my first game on the fields at LCA. One of our varsity boys soccer players fractured his ankle. The coach got to the player before me and looked back over his shoulder towards me and mouthed, “It’s not good.” When I finally saw it, it was NOT good.
Other highlights are moments when I can educate the student-athletes about their bodies and taking care of themselves. I always chuckle when a student comes to me and says, “My hamstring hurts”, and they grab their thigh. Or when they tell me how they are “double jointed”, and I get to educate them on the terminology. I also enjoy informing students on proper eating habits. It’s incredible how we (myself and coaches) have to explain to student-athletes that eating a candy bar, fast food, or lacking water is not ideal for them to be a successful athlete.
I have so many sports-related stories, but the true highlights of my day are the conversations I have with the students, day in and day out. My office door sometimes feels like a revolving door. Our conversations range from religion and church, to family and school and college, to social life and current events and the future. Being involved with youth ministry at my church for many years, this has felt like an extension of that – ministering to the youth, not just being the Athletic Trainer. I believe kids need to know that adults have also been where they are, “…and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecc. 1:14) And when we do not have the answers or cannot help them, we need to steer them in the right direction. I have no shame in saying I do not know the answer, but we can find out together.
YOU ARE NOW THE INTERIM DIVERSITY COORDINATOR. TELL US A BIT ABOUT THIS NEW ROLE.
My new added role at LCA brings me joy. Unofficially, I have been doing diversity work at LCA for many years. I have been one of the only black staff members over the years so the black and brown students and myself naturally gravitated towards one another. I remember conversations with students over the years expressing that they feel like they don’t fit in, or like they have to act a certain way.
In this role, I not only get to support our students of color, but I get to help educate the whole community on evaluating ourselves first and then opening our eyes and hearts to folks that may not look like us or live like us. We are learning how to have those uncomfortable conversations and to be an ally to our brothers and sisters of other races, ethnicities, and cultures. I know this may be hard for some of our students, but I believe it is beneficial to lear it here at LCA before heading out into the real world. We have just tapped the surface of this, but I am willing to dig.
Another great part about this new role is that I am learning too. Reading articles, going to webinars / conferences, and listening to the professionals who have been in this line of work for many years has allowed me to open my own eyes to my own biases and try to better myself. This new role has also allowed conversations of diversity and racial justice at my own dinner table with my four young children who are growing up in this world as people with a brown skin tone.
After my new role was announced, parents and staff reached out to me expressing support and encouraging words. That meant a lot to me.
HOW HAS YOUR FAITH IMPACTED YOU WORK?
My faith impacts my work in a great way. Either through being an Athletic Trainer or The Interim Diversity Coordinator, faith is intertwined in my everyday life. When I talk to students, I am reminded that I do not know what is going on in their private lives, but I will always make sure they are encouraged and uplifted when interacting with me.
As adults working with young people, we need to understand kids today have it much harder than we did growing up. While we may understand the stress of looking a certain way, talking a certain way, or acting a certain way, the new added stress of social media is something we never had to deal with. These are new stressors.
I will do my part by making sure students know and see God. I hope students know:
- God loves you.
- We love you.
- God made you, and you are wonderfully made.
As an Athletic Trainer, I encourage students to care for the wonderful body that God gave them. As Interim Diversity Coordinator, I teach students to love who they are, because again, God made them in His image, and they are each wonderfully made.