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From athlete to athletic trainer

Posted by Pettit, Sarah - November 4, 2015 - Academics, Featured, Health Care Professions, Sarah P., Students

As I’ve said before, my choice to pursue athletic training stems from me being an active individual. Ever since I can remember, I have been involved in some sort of sport or activity. The spectrum ranges from dance and gymnastics to soccer, basketball and volleyball to tae kwon do. So you would think that I probably have had a few injuries then right? Well, you are correct.

I was always the kid that would be outside and running around with the other kids in the neighborhood. So it wasn’t a surprise to my parents when I would come home with bruises from playing football with the boys. It wasn’t until I played sports in middle school when I started understanding how exactly I can get injured.


So let’s start at the injury that kicked off my interest in sports medicine. I was 13 and playing soccer at Carthage College at a soccer camp. I went up to head a ball from a pass and the girl who was guarding me also went to jump for the ball. We hit heads and I fell to the turf and blacked out. I woke up with an athletic trainer checking on me and put my hand up to my face a realized that something was not right. I was soon taken to the emergency room with my parents and got a cut on my face cleaned and my head X-rayed. The results were six stitches, a fractured cheekbone and a concussion. I learned from this injury how important an athletic trainer is for on-field emergencies like mine.


sarah20151104bAnother injury that I’ve had occurred in my high school volleyball career. In my junior year, I was experiencing intense, long-term pain in both of my knees. I went to my family doctor and she recommended that I go to physical therapy, which I did for the next six weeks. After I went through the physical therapy, I was drawn more into the sports medicine field, but when I realized that I didn’t want to work with accident victims, stroke patients or non-athletes, I was turned away. This is where Christy Purpero came in.

Christy was my athletic trainer back at Park High School in Racine. She had dealt with my sprained ankles, jammed fingers and floor burns since I started playing high school volleyball. She is also the person who helped me discover my love of athletic training. We talked multiple times about what her position is and what she does throughout her career. I immediately fell in love with athletic training. I can remember sitting in her AT room waiting for my patellar tendon wrap when I finally asked her if I could observe her after my season was done. Thankfully, she said yes!

I observed Christy throughout the remainder of my high school career and when I came to UW-Stevens Point, I knew exactly what I wanted to do here. I applied to the Athletic Training Education Program my freshman year, and was accepted that spring. I am now the senior athletic training student with the Pointers women’s basketball team, and I am so excited to continue to grow as a person and as a professional in athletic training.


Sarah Pettit is a senior majoring in athletic training at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

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