Article reposted from South Platte Sentinel
Author: Kyle Inman
Catherine Ortiz is meeting a goal that she’s always had when starting her job at Banner Health as an athletic trainer in March.
Ortiz knew she wanted to work to keep athletes healthy since attending high school in Newburgh, New York. Sports has always been part of her life as she played soccer and ran track and cross country.
She attended Ithaca College in New York, where she received a bachelor’s degree and continued to run track and cross country. She then moved on to earn a master’s degree in exercise physiology at San Diego State University. She worked for four years as a graduate assistant athletic trainer and was thrown into the fire immediately training athletes in sports such as basketball, track, water polo and swimming.
“They hired me late in the year and just being thrown into it, being independent right away and using what I had while asking questions to get my own rhythm out there helped,” Ortiz said. “I gained a lot of experience because they were a Division I school so it was pretty demanding.”
The choice to major in exercise physiology was based on Ortiz’s wanting more knowledge about the science aspect of being a trainer. She has always thought about going back to school to complete a physical therapy degree program and wants to achieve more certifications behind her name. She has a special interest in conditioning and would like to be more involved in that aspect of sports.
“I really enjoy the research part of it so I want to be involved in that,” Ortiz said. “I just like working with athletes and I love being around motivated people.”
There’s something about Colorado that Ortiz has always found intriguing. That’s the reason she chose to come to the state after four years in San Diego.
“I’m not used to the small town, but everybody has been so nice and helpful so far — just so welcoming,” Ortiz said.
She served as the trainer for Northeastern Junior College baseball during the spring and is spending the summer helping in orthopedic and physical therapy areas. She plans to go around to the high schools and help out wherever she’s needed in the area.
Competing in triathlons in graduate school helped to keep Ortiz active and she now focuses on being a cyclist in her spare time. She rides competitively through USA cycling, competing in certified races at different levels.
“I love riding and usually on the weekends it’s 50 miles plus,” the athletic trainer said. “My long rides are Saturday and Sunday while during the week I just try to stay in shape. I have a lot of training in the front range so it’s just trying to figure out where to do it here.”