For assistant athletic trainer Kathleen Vesta, athletes are more than just patients. In her five years training primarily baseball, basketball, and men’s and women’s soccer, Vesta has developed relationships with countless Cobber athletes.
Though Vesta never attended Concordia as a student, she completed her graduate assistant work at Concordia while attending North Dakota State University. After graduation, Vesta worked with young athletes at Elk River High School for one year, followed by two years at Davies High School in Fargo before finally coming to Concordia.
As a graduate of Bethel University in Saint Paul, Vesta understands the academic pressures put on Division III student athletes.
“I have so much respect for the student athletes here,” Vesta said. “I admire their work ethic and their ability to balance all that they have going on.”
The respect Vesta has for Concordia’s athletes has laid a foundation for the relationships and culture she has been able to create while at Concordia.
Senior soccer captain Rachel Osmundson recognizes the authentic culture within the training room. After four years as a student athlete, Osmundson has developed a special relationship with Vesta.
“Our relationship is special in a way that is not something you could get at a bigger college,” Osmundson said. “It’s obvious she cares about you as a person and more than just an athlete.”
Whether athletes come in for a few minutes or a few hours, Vesta aims to create an open-door policy for all athletes in the community.
“She has your best interest in mind,” Osmundson said. “She puts your health and safety ahead of everything else, and I think anyone would have a hard time lying to her about an injury because she cares too much.”
Even when it can be hard to recover from an injury, Vesta challenges athletes in a way that promotes positivity—positivity Osmundson has seen during her time with the soccer team.
“It’s a fun and uplifting atmosphere in the training room,” Osmundson said. “But [Vesta] is serious when needed. She finds success in a psychological aspect with athletes, even when it can be mentally really tough.”
Vesta cares for her athletes’ health with the utmost concern.
“It’s very important to me that all athletes get the care needed and that is appropriate for them, whether it be physical or mental health,” Vesta said. “Even if that involves sending them to someone more specialized for their injury.”
Determining the health of athletes is a challenge Vesta faces each day, which provides great learning experiences for her work-study students. Senior exercise science major Mara Jungles is currently a work-study student for Vesta.
Prior to beginning her work-study with Vesta, Jungles observed Vesta for class. Since then, she has developed a lot of respect for the work Vesta does each day.
“She feels very strongly for her athletes,” Jungles said. “She doesn’t always speak about it but you can tell in the way she acts and responds to them. She really cares about our athletes and that they are doing well physically and mentally.”
As a student of Vesta, Jungles has gained immeasurable knowledge and experience, but there is one thing that Jungles will carry with more weight as she begins her own career.
“If there is one thing Kathleen has taught me, it’s how to develop a professional relationship with any athlete,” Jungles said. “I’ve built unique relationships and have come to know my role each day with any athlete in the training room.”
Abby is a junior majoring in Business with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in English Writing. She enjoys attending sporting events, making bets, and winning. This is her first year on the Concordian team!