Interview by BEN HALL
Katie Lynch is in her inaugural year of Colorado College’s athletic training team, serving as coordinator of rehabilitation services. Lynch is from Ohio and has worked with all levels of athletes from high school to the NHL. She primarily works with our men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams.
Ben Hall: What’s your path been like, Katie?
Katie Lynch: I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I went to a small DIII college called Capital University for my undergrad and studied athletic training. After that, I did my doctorate at Cleveland University, then moved to Dallas and did my sports physical therapy residency and did my internship with the Dallas Stars hockey team.
BH: Did you play sports growing up?
KL: I was a dancer growing up—I did Irish step dance.
BH: With the crazy wigs and all of that?
KL: Yep, and after I moved here, I actually started dancing again.
BH: Is there a vibrant Irish dancing community in Colorado Springs?
KL: No, not really, but there’s a school that does it, so I started going there… I’ll be competing in January.
BH: What sparked your interest in athletic training and physical therapy?
KL: [In high school] I was the wrestling statistician, so I got to carry around the med kit, which I thought was just the coolest thing ever. So I was like, “I want to do this,” and my mom said, “what about physical therapy too?” and I was like, “I want to do that too!” I observed with a local physical therapist when I was 16 years old, and was like “this is what I want to do,” and here I am 12 years later, still loving it.
BH: What are some of the major differences between working with athletes here versus at higher levels of competition?
KL: There’s a lot more pressure in the professionals. I remember a physician coming in and saying, “Well, the Stars are paying him $10,000 a game to sit on the bench.” So here, the pressures are a lot different. We’re not necessarily forcing the athletes to get back. DIII athletics is about student athletes; the student comes first. So if an athlete has a concussion, we focus on the student side of it more than the athlete side. The big difference between the professional and the college [level] is that their job is to be an athlete. And here, you’re still learning, you’re still young… they’re not necessarily in that learning phase anymore, and their brains aren’t necessarily developing like your brains are.
BH: Switching gears, how many crockpots do you own?
BH: Do you have any favorite recipes?
KL: My favorite recipe would probably be my grandma’s apple crisp… Also, corn casserole. It’s like cornbread with corn mixed into it. It’s really good.
BH: What drove you to break into the crockpot realm of cooking?
KL: Because this morning I put chili in it, and by the time I get home tonight, it will be done. I don’t have to do anything. I love cooking though. My other favorite recipe would be cookies and cream fudge, which I haven’t brought in yet.
BH: What’s the funniest or most intense injury you’ve dealt with?
KL: Most intense was a hip dislocation in a high school player. The doctor put it back in on the field. Funniest, when I was working in high school in Cleveland I had a kid [with a concussion] write me a doctor’s note that said “if he has a headache or grabs his head during the game, he should be taken out,” and then scribble a doctor’s name on it… that was clearly not correct.
BH: Do you keep track of your record ankle-taping time?
KL: When I was an undergraduate, we had the athletic training Olympics, and I was not the ankle speed taper.
BH: What was your event?
KL: I’ve been different things in the relay portion. Ankle brace fitting, shoulder brace fitting. One year we put somebody in an ankle brace, knee brace, crutches, shoulder brace, wrist, brace, and then they had to run on the crutches down the track.
BH: What else is there to know about the job, and about you?
KL: Well, I want everyone to know that it’s fun in here. We have a good time… I really enjoy treating concussions. I hate the actual concussion, but I enjoy treating it, and I really enjoy treating hips. That’s probably because of my hockey, they all have hip injuries…I also just had my first article, and I’m presenting at the National Physical Therapy Conference in February in New Orleans!
BH: Is there another job you’d love to have in the future?
KL: I thought about doing professional sports… I applied for a bunch of pro sports jobs when I was applying for this job as well, but I really love my work-life balance here… I like being able to relax at home for the first time in 10 years, and I get summers off!
Katie Lynch can be found in the Sports Medicine room in El Pomar constantly helping athletes rehabilitate and strengthen injuries. It’s important work, and she loves doing it.