Behind the Scenes with Colleen

Marko Vukomanovich

We can all agree that sports at Tartan High would not be able to operate without the taping, treatment, and recovery care provided by our beloved athletic trainer, Colleen Andersen. However, not many students are aware of the other aspects that come with being the center of injury prevention and treatment.

Aside from providing expert care, one important trait that sets Colleen aside  from other athletic trainers is her relationships with student athletes that go well beyond the trainers room or the football field. Sophomore Abby Nason was one of the varsity football managers during the 2021 season. In an interview, she says she “always felt comfortable coming to Ms. Colleen about an issue… She made sure to check in on me when I had bad days… And always listened to my drama, even when she was busy.”

Tartan offers over 15 varsity sports, sometimes overlapping with each other, leading to sprints between the gym, the rink, and the field. Minimizing the stress of seemingly having to be in two places at the same time is done by diligent preparation before practices, games, and events. Daily preparations done by Ms. Colleen include hours of reviewing follow-up lists of injured athletes, phone calls to parents and doctors, and thorough checks to make sure all supplies are supplied, the heat packs are hot, and the cold packs will do their job.

The future of the next generation of athletic trainers and physical therapists is in good hands at Tartan. Senior Selena Pineda-Martinez states Ms. Colleen was a huge influence for her in deciding her future career. “We get to shadow and work alongside her. Maggie [Pawlenty] and I follow and travel with her, practicing taping and other techniques. She’s giving us a leg up with experience when we get to college.”

It’s clear that a lot goes into being the center of sports at Tartan High, but maybe being the center of student athlete’s general wellness would be a more appropriate title for Ms. Colleen. One of her favorite parts of her work, she says, is “getting to see my athletes grow as people, and better athletes… The relationships and trust I get to grow with my student athletes over their 4 years is what makes this job so rewarding.”