April 14, 2008
Carissa Nelson-Burk's on-campus job requires her to play with tape, gauze and ice. That allows other students to play as well; on the court, that is.
Nelson-Burk works as an Oklahoma Baptist University athletic trainer. Taping and providing training and therapy for OBU athletes lets the athletic trainers start working in the field of sports.
"Growing up I always played sports," said Nelson-Burk. "I played volleyball, basketball and softball. So I was always used to being in the gym."
When Nelson-Burk came to OBU as a freshman, her older sister was working as an athletic trainer. Carissa hung around with her sister in the gym, which eventually led to her becoming the manager for the Lady Bison basketball team.
"I attend their practices and games and got to travel with them everywhere they play," said Nelson-Burk. "I am still the manager and kind of took on the role of student trainer when my sister left."
As both a trainer and manager, Nelson-Burk helps the women's basketball team be prepared for each practice and game.
"As the manager of the team, I am responsible to make sure that their practice gear is all washed and put away and that their game uniforms are clean and ready to go come game time," she said.
Nelson-Burk continued to work as a trainer and manager because of the relationships she builds with her fellow students.
"I really like getting to know the athletes. After basketball season is over, I work with the baseball team," said Nelson-Burk. "I joke about the job being my social time, but in a way it is. I like getting to know everyone who walks through the door for treatment."
For Nelson-Burk, becoming a trainer was not for a class or her major. Her love for sports and OBU's athletes creates the motivation for her to continue the job.
"Even now, athletic training is not my major, but I really like helping with the team and that's why I still do it," she said.