Article reposted from The University Daily Kansan
Author: Claudia Close
Doing something solely to help other people is a characteristic that many admire. Whether it’s community service, or it’s in someone’s job description, being there for someone can spark a feeling of purpose that inspires people to keep going.
For Kansas student Stephanie Rusnak, that’s exactly the goal.
The Golden, Colo., native is in her second year in the athletic training program at Kansas and is part of the football athletic training team.
“For me, it’s all about [the athletes] being their best and knowing I got to assist them in that, even in the littlest of ways,” she said.
Rusnak spends her mornings helping with treatments and going through rehab with the injured athletes. She aids in the specifically designed programs for each injury and then proceeds with any other necessary treatments.
She then goes to classes as she works towards a master’s degree in athletic training. Rusnak said her work in the classroom and on the field has inspired her dream to stay training with college athletes. Aside from training, Rusnak has a true passion for working one-on-one with athletes — especially those in college.
“These athletes are at such an awesome point in their careers, because they are still at such a high level. But for some of [them], this may be the very last time they play their sports, while others are just starting their professional careers,” she said. “It’s an amazing opportunity for me to be able to work with athletes at such an important time in their lives and form these relationships that will better prepare both of us for our futures.”
After classes, she will go back to the field for practice to set up help with any pre-practice treatment, i.e. taping or wrapping to stabilize a previous injury. During practice, Rusnak and other trainers are on the field, in charge of water and first aid before cleanup. Rusnak will assist with any more treatments post-practice.
Rusnak loves being able to be an athlete’s cheerleader, therapist or a voice of reason when they need the motivation — especially after an injury.
“Being able to see someone at their absolute lowest to returning to the sport that they love and letting them know they did it all on their own is worth every early morning, every cold day and every difficult day,” she said.
As for why she decided to go into athletic training, the answer was simple.
“I think I love this career so much because it really, truly is about helping other people,” Rusnak said.
Rusnak said one of the most exciting moments of her career came last season, when Kansas defeated Texas for the first time since 1938.
“It was such an amazing feeling to be on the field last night. They have worked so hard, and they have truly earned it,” she said. “[The team] has worked and grown over the season and it showed last night.”