Athletic trainers like to joke it’s a perfect game if they don’t have to do anything.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’m at a game and I think I hear somebody call for a trainer and I look around and there’s nobody there,” said Carey Christensen, a longtime trainer at Poudre High School. “You’re always mentally on at those games. It is mentally tiring.”
This fall, Christensen will go to a game, sit down and not have to worry about rushing to the field when someone is injured for the first time in nearly two decades.
“I’m excited to go to a game and just watch it,” Christensen said with a laugh.
After 16 years as Poudre’s athletic trainer, Christensen made the decision last school year to move on.
“It’s part of my identity,” Christensen said. “It’s taken me kind of this whole school year to come to terms and grasp and prepare myself for that next step.”
The on-field assistance at events is the most visible part of the job, but far from all of it. Christensen usually walked in the doors at Poudre at 7 a.m. to start her day as a full-time Spanish teacher and when the bell rang to end the school day would start her day as a trainer at practices, games and helping players and coaches with taping, rehab and whatever else came up.
Working with a tough love attitude, Christensen quickly earned the respect of parents and students alike.
“We have been so fortunate to have someone as our athletic trainer who also works in our building,” Poudre athletic director Kendall Wilson said. “She has been someone that both our families and staff have come to depend on without fail.”
Christensen has been working toward her masters in educational leadership at CSU this summer and will return to Poudre later this summer as a part-time assistant principal.
She’ll still attend Poudre contests and probably need time to train herself to not react when she hears shouts for the trainer.
She’s excited for the next step in her life and cherishes the time spent playing a key role for Poudre students.
“You do athletic training the same reason you coach or are a teacher,” Christensen said. “It’s for the kids and those relationships and seeing them grow into adults and maybe have a chance to mold who they are and watch them become incredible people.”
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.