Hardy finds satisfaction in helping athletes

By Marc Knutila published December 6, 2006

Few people in this world are fortunate enough to find that perfect career fit, where passion and making a living find a happy coexistence.

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs head athletic trainer Brian Hardy considers himself to be a fortunate person. He's found a satisfying recipe that blends his passions for helping others and athletics.

Hardy arrived at UCCS in 2001 as a graduate assistant. He became the head athletic trainer when Rich Rogers resigned 18 months later.

"To me it's all about being around athletes," Hardy began to explain. "College is where I want to be."

Some of Hardy's classmates from graduate school are in working in professional baseball with the Seattle Mariner's organization. But Hardy is not tempted by the dark side.

"Being in professional sports is all about going through the ranks," Hardy started. "It's not just about being a trainer. It's being the equipment man and food guy."

UCCS gives him the ability to focus solely on what he loves and is trained for: helping athletes.

To a casual observer an athletic trainer might not seem like that important of a job. They are sometimes not called on in games and simply seem to have a front row seat to the game. Ask any athlete and they will strongly disagree with that statement and will undoubtedly have nothing but praise for the miracle workers known as athletic trainers. However, Brain Hardy has an interesting way of describing why athletic trainers are essential in sports.

"[Athletic trainers] are around for the "˜oh crap' situation," Hardy explained.

Meaning, that athletic trainers are usually occupied with minor injuries like twisted ankles and sore shoulders, but their importance is demonstrated when something like a severe neck or spinal injury is sustained that can be potentially life threatening.

In his ten years of being an athletic trainer Hardy has many cases that will stay in his memory for the remainder of his life. Hardy explained that every time he sees something for the first time is the most traumatic and unforgettable for him.

In fact, in his very first day as a trainer at Doherty High School a wrestler dislocated his elbow, a rather stomach wrenching injury, which Hardy had never seen before.

"Those are the one's you remember," Hardy replied.

What Hardy also understands and sometimes painfully remembers are the long, grueling hours that he must account for on a daily basis. Although he is the first to admit that they are not physically strenuous and manually labor intensive hours, they are possibly worse: mentally draining.

For instance, for a men's or women's home basketball game, Hardy will work around a twelve to fourteen hour day. It will begin with a shoot around for UCCS at 8:00 a.m. and will end with the conclusion of the game, around 10:00 p.m., with countless jobs he must attend too throughout the entire day.

Hardy sums up his game day effort, along with his job in an interesting way.

"It's mental creativity types of things. It's thinking work," he replied.

It's also a passion.

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