Buena Vista University Athletic Training Students Headed For Big Things


Ella Wiebusch, Assistant Sports Editor

Many students on the campus of Buena Vista University (BVU) compete on at least one athletic team. While these athletes are often in the spotlight, there is another group of people that helps ensure success at all levels of performance. From filling up water bottles to helping with rehabilitation, injury prevention and acute care, the Athletic Training (AT) students at BVU work hard to prepare their athletes for competition.

For seniors Jamie Navinskey, Caroline Maher, Brady Bassett, and Joshua Hoffmann, their experience here at BVU has set them up for success beyond the classroom and instilled in them a standard of excellence. And although they are headed in different directions, they will continue to challenge themselves and strive to be the best at what they do.

From football, soccer, and volleyball, to basketball, track, and more, together the four seniors have worked every sport here on campus.

Each of these four individuals came into the athletic training profession in different ways. While Hoffman knew from a young age he wanted to become an AT, it took Maher getting into the clinical rotations of AT to fall in love. For Bassett, meeting an AT from Loras College in high school sparked his interest. Similarly, Navinskey’s passion for athletics and curiosity for the field led her to where she is today.

BVU has been blessed with each of these individual’s dedication to the AT program, and it is clear that they all love what they do.

“What I enjoy most about being an AT is being able to help those in need,” said Bassett. “When someone comes to me with an injury or questions outside of rotations on what they should do or what will help them best and I can help them in this endeavor, that’s when I feel greatest.”

Maher agrees, as her love for athletics and the medical field are both fulfilled in the AT setting.

“You get to work every day with the same athletes and build a great rapport with the athletes you work with,” said Maher.

The continued opportunity to shine and get hands-on work in their field has proven to be the difference for the athletic trainers.

“One of the things that I enjoy the most about athletic training is getting the opportunity to meet so many people.,” Hoffman said. “Since I have worked with almost every team on campus, I know a lot of the students and coaches and have friends on all of the different sports teams.”

The connections made throughout their four years have been critical to their development and future. All four agree that being able to interact with and get to know their athletes is one of the best parts of the job.

“I love building relationships with each team member, and getting to rehab an injury from surgery or injury occurrence to the point of release,” Navinskey said. “Being able to follow a team, be accepted into their culture and be just a tiny part of their success is a very gratifying experience.”

Head Athletic Trainer Nick Long enjoyed every chance he got to work with this group of seniors, and commends them on their inquisitive nature, dedication and desire to succeed.

“They may not agree with me, and say I am their toughest critic of their performance, but honestly they are more critical of their performance than I am times,” said Long. “When injury evaluation opportunity comes through the door if they don’t get the differential diagnoses correct right away they get frustrated and ask great questions as to what they missed and why so that they don’t repeat their mistakes.”

A native of Kansas, Navinskey will be heading back to her roots following graduation.

“I have accepted a position as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Washburn University, a Division II school in Kansas, while pursuing a graduate degree in Health and Human Performance,” said Navinskey. “After those two years, I’ll be going to either physical therapy or physician assistant school.”

In contrast, the three others will be straying much farther from home. Maher will head to Florida to work with her favorite sport:  soccer.

“I am going to get my MBA in Sports Administrations while working as an Athletic Training Graduate Assistant at Webber International University,” said Maher. “My goal is to become a head athletic trainer and continue to work with women’s soccer.”

Hoffman will travel to Georgia, and Bassett will head to Nebraska.

“My future plan as of right now is to attend Wayne State College this fall as a hired graduate assistant while obtaining my Masters degree. After those two years it’s really a toss up,” said Bassett.

“After graduation, I will be moving to Valdosta, Georgia, to work at Valdosta State University as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer. At the same time, I will be working towards receiving my masters in Education and Higher Educational Leadership,” said Hoffman. “My current future goals include attending physical therapy school and possibly working as a head athletic trainer for either an NHL or NFL team.”

It is easy to see that all four individuals are headed for big things and have taken all the opportunities that BVU has offered them.

Long has enjoyed being able to work with these students and expects that they will become great clinicians.

“They have heard me say this countless times over the year but they all have tremendous opportunities ahead of them,” said Long. “They are going to get what they put into their graduate assistant positions and I am sure they will all seize that opportunity and make BVU ATEP very proud.”