It is always a big deal when a former Mesa Thunderbird has success at this level and earns their way up to the next level or, “The Big Leagues.” For Kelly Boyce, she has taken the first step towards that big league dream.
Boyce has been hired as the Minor League Athletic Trainer for the Arizona Diamondbacks Rookie League Team. The AZL Diamondbacks consist mostly of first year players that get drafted in June and they play their games against other AZL teams around the valley.
“This has been my dream job for a long time,” said Boyce when asked about her goals of being an athletic trainer in the MLB, “the Diamondbacks are an amazing organization and I can’t say enough good things about the staff and athletes. They have been incredibly welcoming, and I’m beyond excited to be a part of an organization that cares about their athletes and co-workers as much as they do.”
Not only is Boyce chasing her dreams but she is the first female hired on the Sports Medicine and Performance Team for the Arizona Diamondbacks in their 18 year history, at any level.
“It was a no-brainer to hire Kelly,” said Kyle Torgerson, Minor League Medical Coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks, “We are excited for her to be part of our sports medicine team and the potential she has to move up through the system to higher levels.”
Jane McManus, a writer for espnW.com, wrote an article in 2014 about “female athletic trainers making strides” in professional sports.
“Even though women are now a majority in the industry — a result of women coming into the business during the past decade — they hold just a few of the most lucrative jobs,” writes McManus, “In recent years, more women have been coming into the profession than men. In 2005, 47.6 percent of National Athletic Trainers’ Association members were women, but in 2011 that number climbed to 50.9 percent. Student memberships illustrate the trend even more, with 60 percent of those held by women.” (espnW.com, written by Jane McManus, March 22, 2014)
Boyce shares many of the same thoughts as the very first female athletic trainer hired at the professional level, Sue Falsone, about being a female hired in the professional ranks.
Falsone defines real change as something that’s not gender-specific.
“It’s ironic that people think that the change is about me being a woman, and that’s not really the change,” she said. “It’s about us as a medical staff looking at new and innovative ways to deal with injuries. That’s what the change is going to be,” said Falsone. (www.mlb.com, written Ken Gurnick, November 1st, 2011)
“I feel like I am going to fit in well,” said Boyce, “everyone makes a big deal about me being a female getting hired but I truly just feel like one of the guys doing my job, and they all treat me that way. I feel like I have the best job in the world.”
While Boyce was attending A.T. Still University for her master’s degree, Ken Crenshaw, Head Athletic Trainer for the Arizona Diamondbacks, spoke to the athletic trainers there. That was the first contact Boyce had made with the organization. Through the help of Crenshaw, Boyce interned with the Diamondbacks last summer during extended Spring Training at Salt River Fields. So when the AZL Rookie League position opened up, Crenshaw extended the invitation to Boyce to apply for the job.
“We had Kelly as an intern last summer in 2015 and she proved herself to be a very driven individual in our profession as an athletic trainer,” said Torgerson.
While at Mesa, Boyce primarily worked with the women’s volleyball program in the fall and the baseball program during the spring.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Kelly for the last 2 years,” said Marty Parel, Head Athletic Trainer at Mesa Community College, “her passion for the athletic training profession and the sport of baseball has shaped her to deliver excellent patient-centered care for our student athletes.”
“My confidence as a healthcare professional has increased in the two years I have been at Mesa,” said Boyce, “Marty and Kara Cummins were my mentors last year, now this year Marty and Carolina Quintana have let me use what I learned in my master’s and undergraduate program to help me create my own treatment philosophy.”
Boyce will finish up the Mesa baseball season and once the season is complete, she will immediately begin her position with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“The relationships I have gained with my fellow athletic trainers, athletes, and coaches, those are the things that will stick with me forever, so thank you to everyone at MCC,” said Boyce.