If you have a student-athlete in your family who attends one of our local high school or colleges, chances are good that he or she works closely with one of Beacon’s certified athletic trainers (ATCs).

“The ATCs are extremely important in the health and safety of our local athletes — both as first-line caregivers in injury treatment as well as injury prevention,” says Linda Mansfield, MD, Director, Beacon Medical Group Sports Medicine, and Co-Director, South Bend-Notre Dame Sports Medicine Fellowship. “The ATCs are the most familiar with the athletes of anyone on the health care team. This becomes important when an athlete suffers an injury such as concussion that causes a change in the athlete’s affect or mental status.”

Learn more about these talented professionals, why they do what they do, and how they bring their best every day to the student-athletes who rely on them:

Joe Dunagan, MA, LAT, ATC

Joe Dunagan, MA, LAT, ATC
Adams High School (Approx. 615 student-athletes)

Why did you choose this profession? I started back in high school. I liked sports but was unable to play football for medical reasons. My friends played so I wanted to help them. I went to the coach before school started my freshman year and asked if I could help as a manager. Naturally, he agreed. The next two summers the coaches at my high school sent me to Cramer Student Trainer Camps so I could help out that way as well. That’s how I got into it. I like helping the young people reach for their goals.

What’s the best part about working with student-athletes? The best part is helping them be successful.

 

Jenny Dyskiewicz, MS, LAT, ATC

Jenny Dyskiewicz, MS, LAT, ATC
Riley High School (Approx. 485 student-athletes)

Why did you choose this profession? I love sports and wanted to go into the medical field so it was a good fit. This work is a great way to help people get back to doing what they love doing — their sports and activities.

How does it feel to be a positive influence on student-athletes? To be a role model for them? I love working with the student-athlete, in both educating them about injuries and the steps to getting better. If we can impact the lives of the athletes by educating them and getting them back to sport, that’s what makes this job great.

 

Gary Hall, LAT, ATC

Gary Hall, LAT, ATC
Laville Jr./Sr. High School (Approx. 300 student-athletes)

Why did you choose this profession? I chose the profession because I was an athlete in high school and wasn’t good enough to continue at the next level. I thought this was best way to stay involved in athletics behind the scenes. I am passionate because I enjoy working with young athletes.

How does it feel to be a positive influence on student-athletes? To be a role model for them? It feels great to have an influence over these kids. I enjoy seeing them after they graduate. I’ve also become friends with a lot of their families.

I try to be a role model by living my life the right way. Doing what I say I’m going to do and following through on commitments and having good communication skills.

 

Amy E. Heiby, ATC, LAT

Amy E. Heiby, ATC, LAT
Holy Cross College (Approx. 100 student-athletes)

Why did you choose this profession? I was a high school swimmer. I got hurt and the school athletic trainer fixed me. It was my first introduction to sports medicine. I fell in love with it. I have always loved medicine, coming from a family of nurses. I always loved sports. So I found the best world of both together.

I started assisting the high school athletic trainer in his student club program. I got a lot of hands-on training and a great mentor that molded me. It just all led me to here. I loved working with student-athletes and helping them in their sports. I was hooked and decided my senior year of high school it was what I was going to major in.

Why are you passionate about your work? People can be passionate in anything, but it comes when you find your purpose, a goal you believe in, a reason to work hard, a thing your spirit connects to. I’m passionate about athletic training because I find joy in helping athletes who get injured get back to their passion of activity. Caring for an individual who doesn’t understand their injury, who has lost their favorite activity and then giving them knowledge about their body and healing them through treatments to get back…it’s the best. Seeing their hope grow and joy on their face getting back to the game is my passion.

 

Macy Kujawa, LAT, ATC

Macy Kujawa, LAT, ATC
Edwardsburg High School (Approx. 315 student-athletes)

What is the best part about working with student-athletes? The best part of working with student-athletes is when you get to witness them achieve goals in a sport they love. Also being there for triumph and tribulations, and seeing them reach their full potential.

How does it feel to have such a positive influence on student-athletes? To be a role model for them? It makes me feel awesome! Knowing that the things I do on a daily basis can impact someone in ways I might not even know. If I have made the slightest impact on someone, it makes the long nights and challenging times worthwhile.

 

Carl D. Landis LAT, ATC, CSCS

Carl D. Landis LAT, ATC, CSCS
Jimtown High School (Approx. 350 student-athletes)

Why did you choose this profession? Why are you passionate about your work? I chose this profession because I was always athletically inclined (but not very athletic) and interested in medicine, so this was a perfect match. I am passionate about my work because I see a need for high school athletes to be given appropriate health care so they can participate in sport the rest of their lives.

What is the best part about working with student-athletes? I think the best part of working with student-athletes is they are usually highly motivated individuals. They want to achieve success at all levels of play and are interested in how to do that.

 

Sarah Redman, LAT, ATC

Sarah Redman, LAT, ATC
Holy Cross College & Indiana University South Bend (Approx. 300 total student-athletes)

Why did you choose this profession? I chose athletic training because I was always interested in what the student helpers did in high school when they helped the teams out. Once in college and being a student helper in the athletic training room, I got hands-on experience and fell in love. I enjoy being able to help others, and in this field I get to help them during sports. I do different things every day and I never know what issue will walk through the door.

How does it feel to have such a positive influence on student-athletes? To be a role model for them? We are showing our work ethic and how we act toward others day in and day out. We might be the only positive person they see in a day and I want to help make them more positive people for the future.

 

Amy Schultz, M.Ed., LAT, ATC

Amy Schultz, M.Ed., LAT, ATC
Elkhart Memorial High School (Approx. 300 student-athletes)

What is the best part about working with student-athletes? I love to see the joy on an athlete’s face when they come back stronger from an injury. 

It is awesome to see their progress through the injury/healing process — that in itself is very rewarding. I love when it clicks, that if they listen and do what I tell them, they can get back to their sport faster. They start to buy into what I’m telling them. 

How does it feel to have such a positive influence on student-athletes? To be a role model for them? I feel a lot of the time like an older sister. My athletes are very comfortable around me and seek me out for advice. I like knowing that I can be a positive influence, especially for some kids who may not have anyone in their life that they feel they can go to. 

 

Louise T. Shines MAT, LAT, ATC

Louise T. Shines MAT, LAT, ATC
Clay High School (Approx. 485 student-athletes)

Why did you choose this profession? Why are you passionate about your work? I love sports and wanted to go into the medical field so it was a good fit. This work is a great way to help people get back to doing what they love doing — their sports and activities.

What is the best part about working with student-athletes? The best part is having an athlete work so hard after an injury and seeing them get back to participation.

How does it feel to have such a positive influence on student-athletes? To be a role model for them? I love working with the student-athlete, in both educating them about injuries and the steps to getting better. If we can impact the lives of the athletes by educating them and getting them back to sport, that’s what makes this job great.

 

Amanda L. Traxler, MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS

Amanda L. Traxler, MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS
Elkhart Central High School (Approx. 600 student-athletes)

What is the best part about working with student-athletes? Student-athletes want to work hard and will do anything to play or return to play — it’s inspiring and it makes the steps to get them back to the playing field more enjoyable. I am here at the school, every day, same as a coach, so there is a sense of pride watching them achieve goals and grow from freshman to college-bound young adults. And anytime I’m thanked by an athlete, parent or coach is icing on the cake.

How does it feel to have such a positive influence on student-athletes? To be a role model for them? I’ve said for a long time that I just want to make a difference, so I try to approach every day like I can. I think it’s an honor to be seen as a role model and I hope my student-athletes (and their parents) know I’m here to listen to what’s aching them and either help them recover and/or just listen and reassure them.

 

Kendra Weber, MS, LAT, ATC

Kendra Weber, MS, LAT, ATC
Washington High School (Approx. 300 student-athletes)

Why did you choose this profession? Why are you passionate about your work? I chose to become an athletic trainer because I was always the athlete who got hurt in some way during high school. My high school didn’t have a full-time athletic trainer, but I got to meet several of them and thought it sounded like an interesting career. I also worked in the office in our family business and knew I didn’t want a typical desk job.  I liked the idea of the medical field, but my older sister is a doctor and I didn’t want to do the same thing as her. So I thought athletic training was a great way to mesh the medical side with still getting to enjoy sports and not having to be stuck at a desk all day!

How does it feel to have such a positive influence on student-athletes? To be a role model for them? After being employed by Memorial for 17 years now, I am constantly running into ex-athletes when I’m out and about. I love that they remember me and their time in high school. Most high school athletes won’t go on to become superstars, or even play in college, but knowing that I get a chance to help influence these kids in high school makes it worthwhile. 

 

Kara Werner-Sanders, MAC, LAT, ATC, CSCS

Kara Werner-Sanders, MAC, LAT, ATC, CSCS
Indiana University South Bend

How does it feel to have such a positive influence on student-athletes? To be a role model for them? To have a positive effect on any person is amazing and means more to me as an athletic trainer than anything. I talk all the time about how being a teacher, a coach, or an athletic trainer is similar. You are there to make a difference in a student’s life — to challenge them, to help them grow in a positive way — and nothing gives me more joy than making a difference in someone’s life. 

One of my favorite parts of being an athletic trainer is hearing from former students or athletes after they have graduated — seeing them and hearing about how well they are doing. 

It is funny that a lot of people don’t realize how much they can change someone’s outlook on life, or how much they can lift them up when they are down. Taking care of athletes and patients is not just about their physical well-being; it is also about their mental well-being. You have to pay attention to each individual’s needs and take the time to help them. As an athletic trainer you can greatly affect someone’s outlook on athletics, especially when they are injured, when they are questioning why they play, what makes them happy, etc.