by Jacy Johnston
All over campus, Concordia athletes strive to improve their performances, from the gym to the field, from the weight room to the fieldhouse. The athletic training room is another important space that helps improve athletes’ performance. The Concordia athletic training room, located on the base floor of the Walz Human Performance Complex, is the home of the athletic training staff, who work to keep the Bulldogs healthy and ready for competition.
Concordia has three full-time athletic trainers on staff: Athletic Trainer Randy Baack and Assistant Athletic Trainers Stacy Dahlkoetter and T.J. Schmidt.
Baack has been the head athletic trainer at Concordia since 2001. He graduated from Concordia in 1987 after lettering on the baseball team all four years of his college career.
Dahlkoetter worked as a student trainer under Baack while attending school at Concordia. She completed her graduate degree at University of Nebraska Omaha and has worked as an assistant athletic trainer at Concordia since 2012.
Schmidt attended the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and competed as a gymnast for four years before he attended graduate school at Texas Tech University. He worked at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire and a Texas high school before joining the Concordia staff in 2013 as an assistant athletic trainer.
Together, these three individuals assist all Concordia athletes in preventing and recovering from injuries. The athletic trainers’ main goal is to take care of all of the healthcare needs for Concordia athletes.
“I got to see the day to day operations [as a student worker], and so I kind of knew what I was getting into going into graduate school,” Dahlkoetter said. “But, obviously it is quite a bit different being a certified athletic trainer with different responsibilities.”
Baack said there are more duties than those seen by most outsiders.
“There are administrative tasks we have to do as far as recording injuries, and injury care and treatment,” Baack said. “[We are] talking to doctors and getting protocols [and dealing with the] day to day decisions of deciding what an athlete can or cannot do.”
Each trainer has to manage his or her time with over 200 athletes throughout the school year.
“Athletic training is definitely time consuming; it is not a nine to five job: you have to love sports, and you have to love people. You need to have a family that is understanding that you will be gone on weeknights and be gone on the weekends,” Baack said.
Although its daily use by Concordia athletes today, the availability of athletic training is relatively new at Concordia.
In the late 1980s, Concordia did not have an athletic trainer. Baack said if athletes needed help, they would ask Stan, the equipment manager.
The training program began in the 1990s, and the rosters, sports and teams have grown since then.
In addition to an increased number of athletes, the athletic training space has been expanded as well.
“This is an outstanding space we have here,” Baack said.
Schmidt said the most rewarding part of his job is “the relationships you get with all the current athletes and coaches and being with someone through the entire process from the injury to fully recovery.”
Dahlkoetter said that the little moments make athletic training worthwhile.
“When an athlete buys into what I’m trying to get them to do, whether its exercises to get back from an injury, or exercises to prevent an injury, they are reluctant at first, but then they start to get better, and it clicks. You see the lightbulb go off in their eyes” Dahlkoetter said.
The administrators, coaches and trainers all work together to give athletes a chance to perform to the best of their abilities.
“You have a lot of people that have to do a lot of things to make [the athletic programs] successful,” Baack said. “I love Concordia, the athletes that come here and working with Stacy and T.J., and we need each other.”