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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Athony Varianno photo

New DCC athletic trainer provides sense of security

By Anthony Varriano

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

There’s a new face on the sidelines of Dawson Community College sporting events. Laken Olson, 23, of Richey, has been hired on as a part-time athletic trainer through a partnership with Glendive Medical Center.

GMC’s rehabilitative service manager Ty Dufner said the hospital used to cover the costs for a therapist for DCC’s athletes who experienced injuries, but he knew that wasn’t a long-term solution. When someone mentioned to him that a friend with athletic training experience was moving back to the area and wanted to work part time, Dufner jumped on the opportunity.

Now Olson, an employee of GMC, works in a part-time capacity at Dawson Community College, a partnership that has already been a success, according to Dufner.

“... I can’t say enough how important it is to have medically trained staff there, not only for college sporting events, but for college-sponsored tournaments as well,” he said.

Olson attended Miles Community College for two years before completing the athletic training program at the University of Mary in May. During her three years at Mary, she worked two-and-a-half years as a student athletic trainer.

“I’ve worked with just about every sport that’s in Bismarck and at high school, college and junior college levels,” she said.

With her experience and the desire to be back in Eastern Motana, the timing of DCC trainer position couldn’t have been better for Olson.

“I just wanted to move back home … and this all just sort of fell in my lap, and it’s pretty perfect,” Olson said.

Through the partnership with GMC, Olson has the support of doctors, can get second opinions and even fast-track orthopedic surgery if necessary. 

An equally important part of Olson’s job is preventing injuries.

“As an athletic trainer, I’m not here just to treat injuries. I can also prevent injuries, and I can pretty much catch things before they get too serious,” she explained. 

Olson said she’s already dealt with concussions and plenty of injuries this season and is thankful for the college’s investment in the IMPACT concussion testing, which she said has been “so helpful.”

Student take IMPACT testing before the season to give coaches and Olson a baseline measurement to use when testing players for concussions later in the season.

Olson is talking with DCC athletic director and men’s head coach Joe Peterson and the DCC coaches about implementing an ACL prevention program into the pre-season and postseason conditioning programs next year. She said the program will be geared toward females since ACL tears are much more common in women.

“It’s mostly due to muscular imbalances that you can usually fix. It’s usually hip weakness, so you do a lot of hip strength and flexibility,” she said.

DCC women’s basketball coach Romeo Lagmay, Jr. appreciates the “sense of security” that comes with having Olson on board.

“Just having that expertise around is nice because that’s not our expertise as coaches,” Lagmay said.

Peterson said he appreciates being able to ask if someone can play or not and getting a medically informed answer.

“She’s just done a great job diagnosing injuries and rehabbing injuries already,” Peterson said.

Olson said her presence at DCC sporting events is healthy, not only for the Buccaneers, but for opposing players and fans as well. She will attend home sporting events and is available to players three days per week for three hours each day for therapy and rehabilitation. She’s also bringing in new equipment that will help her do her job even better.

“I’m working really limited hours right now because it’s the first year, but there’s so much room to grow,” she said. 

Reach Anthony Varriano at rrsports@rangerreview.com.

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