As the blaring sirens of the ambulance came closer, the crowd was paralyzed with fear. Although several people believed that he only dislocated his shoulder, the “pop” sound was excruciating to hear. While coaches attempt to relax the anxious athlete, a hero wearing tennis shoes and a black fanny pack has rushed over to save the day. The hero, otherwise known as the athletic trainer, recognizes the injury as a broken arm, and not a dislocation. The athletic trainer splints the shocked athlete’s arm. When athletes engage in sports, they are putting themselves at risk for injuries. Circumstances such as overusing a muscle or neglecting to stretch just scratch the surface of reasons an athlete develops an injury. Fortunately, athletic trainers in high schools, like Cannon Falls’ Beth Sunquist, are licensed and reliable people who educate injured athletes so that they can quickly recover.
Beth recalls that the hardest part of her job is “getting kids to realize that I am here to help them and not to sit them out.” The majority of an athletic trainer’s job consists of planning and preparing to keep athletes active on the field. In high school, athletes believe that they can heal their own injury, without the help of an athletic trainer. This overconfident attitude can lead to an aggravated injury. By reaching out to an athletic trainer, healing can be as quick and as painless as possible. “They get you back out on the field or arena quickly,” wrestler Erwin Strelow agreed.
The more experiences a person encounters, the more they realize that they don’t know everything. Over time, Beth has observed this through her career. There are situations when she doesn’t have enough tools to fix every injury which is when she must refer the athlete to higher commands in the medical chain. Injuries that involve casts, like a broken arm, must be treated at hospitals because athletic facilities in schools are too small to store the plaster casts. Beth Sunquist is not only an athletic trainer at Cannon Falls High School, she also advises and treats athletes at Randolph, Kenyon, Zumbrota, and Pine Island High Schools.
In college, Beth took a class on Injury Prevention and Care that coaches are required to take. From there, she learned how to tape ankles, wrists, and every other part of the body. “I had no idea that I would go into this career,” Beth revealed. After taking the college class, her first instinct was, “wow, this is really fun!” which lead her to a career that she knew was destined for her. Compared to her other college courses, the principles of athletic training introduced to Beth in the Injury Prevention class were far more intriguing. As every career has its perks, Beth’s favorite asset of being an athletic trainer is, “the kids because you guys are full of excitement for not only recovering from your injury, but everyday you come in and somebody makes me laugh.”
According to Beth, being an athletic trainer is not the most family friendly career. Due to her career being sports oriented, Beth follows a schedule directed towards athletic events, which isn’t always a normal routine. In the winter, she will work an abundant amount of evenings and most weekends, accommodating each athletic game. Thankfully, her heavy workload in the winter is balanced out with fewer hours in the summer. “Sports are only growing so there is more tournaments,” she mentioned. “There are exhausting days where we sometimes need to cover big tournaments. Schools are realizing the importance of an athletic trainer being at these tournaments.” Passionately, Beth dedicates all of her time and energy into every athlete’s recovery. Some heroes may wear fancy red capes, but Beth Sunquist has shown several high school athletes that heroes can be anywhere.