More than taping ankles: Hesston’s athletic trainers strike a balance between care and fun

Nate & Meg
Nate Bartell and Megan Fowler, Hesston’s athletic trainers

By Keegan Cook – Horizon Sports Editor

Hesston College has a 176 athletes on 12 sports teams. Caring for every single one of them is Megan Fowler and Nate Bartell.

Fowler and Bartell perform many tasks, from getting water ready for each team to taping athletes for a practice, game or meet, to being ready to jump into action on the field or court if an athlete goes down during a game.

“Nate and Megan do a marvelous job and I am thankful to have them here at Hesston,” said Rob Ramseyer, Athletic Director and Vice President for Student Development.  “They are very knowledgeable and also do an excellent job developing relationships with our student-athletes.”

Behind the scenes Fowler and Bartell can be found in the Yost Center training room from noon to the end of practices. As trainers, their job is to help keep athletes safe, aid recovery and provide medical assistance at games and sporting events.

Fowler is the head trainer. She is a registered athletic trainer in Colorado, as well as a licensed athletic trainer in Kansas and Pennsylvania. She received her athletic certification in 2011.

Fowler’s passion for her job has made an impression on the athletes she works with. 

“Megan is a very unique person,” said sophomore Kyle Good. “She clearly loves her job and loves working with us. She does this by having lots of confidence in her work which is very good. She also loves to help and to tell a good story.”

Not only does Fowler do her job well, she also has fun doing it. She will even occasionally play a joke on Hesston’s athletes. Last year she established“ Jelly Bean Friday,” which involved supplying jelly beans for athletes visiting the training room. One Friday that changed slightly. It was April 1, so instead of bringing regular jelly beans for the athletes, she brought “Jelly Belly BeanBoozled” jelly beans – the gross ones – and did not mention it to the athletes. She then sat back and laughed at students’ reactions as athlete after athlete would shove handfuls of “spoiled milk” and “dead fish” – flavored candy into their mouths.

Nate Bartell is Megan’s partner in crime when it comes to having fun with the Hesston athletes. Bartell also works as the regional high school athletic trainer and works for the Sports Orthopedics Center in Newton.

Students are big fans of Bartell, too.  

“Nate is an awesome trainer!” said freshman Mason Kerr. “Not only does he know exactly what he is doing, but he will also make you laugh at some point while seeing him. He makes me feel good about myself and confident that my injury will heal up to be better than new.”

Both Bartell and Fowler spend hours a day communicating with each other about the needs of each individual athlete as well as the needs of each sports team on campus. The job at times is not easily done. For instance there are times where more than 12 student athletes are all in the training room at once needing to be taped before practice starts. But the athletic trainers at Hesston have done a great job at handling it all.

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