Meet Athletic Trainer Sara Rock
Sara grew up playing recreational sports; today, she cares for young athletes in District 833 as part of the Summit Orthopedics sports medicine team.
“I have been around sports my entire life,” says Sara Rock, a Summit Orthopedics athletic trainer at the HealthEast Sports Center. “I grew up playing softball, soccer, and basketball through my local youth athletic association and frequently joined in on whiffle ball, soccer, and street hockey games with my neighborhood kids. I also did a little snowboarding and skiing in the winter.” After a knee injury during a soccer tournament when she was 14, Sara’s firsthand experience with the orthopedic doctors and therapists who treated her turned her focus to sports medicine.
“I really loved my high school anatomy and physiology classes,” she remembers. “I knew I wanted to work with athletes.” Sara’s passion for a career in sports took her to the University of Minnesota, where she earned a bachelor of science degree while fulfilling an internship with the football team before moving south to pursue a master’s degree in athletic training at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She passed her boards and accepted a position at the University of Louisville, where she worked with the men’s and women’s track and field and cross-country teams, as well as managing the girl’s golf team.
Her sports medicine internship experiences enabled her to shadow team docs and observe ACL reconstruction surgeries. “I worked with great physicians,” she says. “I learned about different athletic injuries and how to recognize and diagnose them. Now I draw on all of my experiences, from taping kids before practice to helping out with initial evaluations and guiding the postoperative rehab program.”
After three years in the South, Sara was ready to come home just as Summit Orthopedics was looking for athletic trainers to enhance the sports medicine team at the HealthEast Sports Center. Summit’s needs and Sara’s experience were a perfect fit. “I loved everything about HealthEast Sports Center,” Sara says. “The facility is gorgeous, our contract with the District is a great fit for my expertise, and Dr. Skendzel’s enthusiasm for supporting our community through our work with young athletes is contagious—it’s truly an exciting opportunity.”
Today, Sara is busy working with young high school athletes, doing everything from taping and wrapping to rehabilitation therapies. “I’ve come from being a student athlete to working with student athletes to keep them at the top of their game,” she smiles. “My favorite part of my job is coming to school and being in the athletic training room and working with the athletes. At the end of the day, I want my athletes to be safe. Sometimes that is about prevention, and sometimes it’s about helping them recuperate after an injury and seeing them safely back on the field doing the things they want to do.”
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