Christensen "Great Addition" To LaVille Athletics
By Scot Shearer | Mar. 16, 2023 2:46 PM
LAKEVILLE, IN. – March is National Athletic Trainer’s Month and the Union North-United School Corporation continues to have a solid relationship between Beacon Health System and the student-athletes of LaVille Jr.-Sr. High School. LaVille athletic trainer Janelle Christensen, now in her 4th year as an athletic trainer and first year at LaVille, cares for student-athletes year-round. AthleticTrainers roam the sidelines for games and practices to help keep athletes healthy and on the field. In the fall she averages "50-ish hours a week". The winter is about the same because games start later. The work day is not quite so long for Christensen in the spring since games start earlier and end a little earlier on the evening. According to Christensen, she sees approximately 15-16 student-athletes each day. "I also come on three to four days a week in the summer because teams have summer workouts." A graduate from Allendale Public Schools in Allendale, Michigan in 2014, Christensen received her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training in April of 2018. She moved on to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where she graduated in May of 2020 with a Master of Science in Athletic Training. She played soccer and basketball throughout middle school and high school. She also played collegiate soccer at Alma College for four years. Athletic Trainers are the first line of defense for student-athletes, and even spectators. Be it a sprain, a fracture, a concussion . . . when a student athlete is injured, they need access to immediate care. Beacon provides a network of physicians to assist when necessary. "Our athletic department assists Beacon in the hiring process of athletic trainers - so I had the opportunity to meet Janelle when she was going through Beacon's interview/hiring process," recalled LaVille Athletic Director Will Hostrawser. "When the decision was made to have her assigned to LaVille, I felt really good about that. Janelle came from a high school in Ohio and she wanted to work at our level. She was the perfect fit for us. When she arrived, she hit the ground running right away." The need for athletic trainers is on the rise. Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for ATs is expected to increase 23 percent by 2030. "Janelle has been a great addition to the athletic program at LaVille," said Lancer head volleyball coach Pat Whiteman-Gring. "She is very present for our practices and games and when she can’t be, she’s great at communicating how and where to reach her. She has a calm demeanor which helps our players feel at ease when they are injured. She goes above and beyond in making sure our athletes get good follow up care after an injury." While the fall athletic teams have home games/matches on-campus and off-site, Christensen balances her time quite well. "She is very committed to being the best trainer she can possibly be," said 15th-year LaVille head basketball coach Michael Edison. " She has the best interest of our student-athletes at the forefront of all she does! We are so thankful to have Janelle helping each and every day. Janelle has been a great addition to our staff here at LaVille." During the winter athletic season, Christensen can be found working in the athletic training room, attending basketball games, wrestling matches and tournaments and on the computer logging in injury information. "I definitely feel like I do more with athletes than just work with bones and muscles," says Christensen. "Kids come in that want to talk about life in general. It's not just standing on the sidelines and looking pretty. People don't see the day-to-day grind." In the spring, baseball, golf, softball, tennis, track and field keep Christensen busy. Athletic trainers are a valuable addition to the athletic program and it's a profession of much more than providing ice at an athletic event. A job growth rate of 23 percent means that nearly 3,100 new athletic training jobs will emerge every year for the next decade, making plenty of room for the next wave of professional athletic trainers. As a part of the school health care team, services provided by athletic trainers include primary care, injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Christensen also feels like there is a strong connection between Beacon and Union-North United School Corporation. "Beacon is a partner with a residents program," said the Allendale, Michigan native. "If I need a doctor to come see a student-athlete or if I have a couple different injuries that need to be looked at, I can call or text and ask if someone can come down (to LaVille). We do have a team doctor and they mostly will be here for every home football game." She not only does a great job at communicating between the injured athlete and a doctor, she is equally effective with parents and coaches. "One of the most important qualities of an athletic trainer is their communication skills - which happens to be one of Janelle's strengths. She does an excellent job in communicating to parents, players and coaches alike. Doing so takes a lot of stress off the student-athlete as they navigate their return to play protocol. We are lucky to have such a good athletic trainer at LaVille! And, while Christensen has been at LaVille for just a short time, she really enjoys her new home. "I love it," concluded Christensen. "The coaches are good to work with. The students and parents have been good to work with. It is a great community and I feel very fortunate." Christensen is the third athletic trainer at LaVille. Gary Hall was the first full-time athletic trainer, followed by Trista Hartman. Beacon certified athletic trainers do it all for athletes.