From Minnesota to Michigan: LN Athletic Trainer puts his Students First

Sophomore Maggie Grabemeyer comes to Dan with worries about her thumb after experiencing pain at soccer practice. He tells her that she strained a muscle in her hand and assures her that she will be okay. Photo Credit / Olivia Ely

It’s 3:56 and you’ve just finished getting dressed for practice that starts at 4:00. You need your shoulder stretched and your hand wrapped. You’re all fixed up and out with your team with just minutes to spare. The man to thank? Loy Norrix’s very own athletic trainer, Dan Hawley.

Dan has been the athletic trainer for Loy Norrix since the summer of 2016. Before coming to Loy Norrix, Dan worked under a certified athletic trainer in the athletic training room at Minnesota State Mankato in order to receive his certification to train alone. Dan came into Loy Norrix not having any experience being a head athletic trainer. He’s done a wonderful job so far, according to many student athletes.  

“Dan is a great guy. Anytime I’ve had problems or an injury, he’s been great in helping me to recover,” said junior cross country runner Bill Bowser.

Dan went into athletic training so that he could help people ease their physical pain and be there for people when they need him. Ever since he loved being an AT at a high school in Minnesota, he decided to continue his career in athletic training.

Dan is currently balancing his job at Loy Norrix and higher education at Western Michigan University where he’s in his second year of school earning a masters degree in athletic training through the Department of Human Performance and Health Education. Dan hopes to either continue training in high schools or move to collegiate level training someday.

Dan takes classes that fall under the category of injury management. Some examples of his classes are anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and rehabilitation. In order to become a certified athletic trainer, you have to pass your board of certification exam after graduating from an accredited course.  

After his work is finished here at Loy Norrix, Dan plans to move back to his hometown in Blaine, Minnesota this summer.

“I’m excited to move back to be closer to my friends and family again,” said Dan.

Dan’s favorite thing about training at Loy Norrix is his ability to meet a variety of students between various sports seasons.

“You never feel better than when you finish dealing with a student’s rehabilitation, or like getting them off to go to the hospital after you’ve dealt with their serious injury, and they’re like ‘Thank you Dan, I appreciate it,’” said Dan.

His all time favorite memory is when the varsity football team beat Kalamazoo Central because he loved seeing everyone so happy.

“So here’s the thing, losing doesn’t hurt or disappoint me at all, like I was fine after going 0-9 last year, but when kids come up to me and say ‘Dan I’m so sick of losing’ with that sad look on their face, that’s what hurts.” Dan continued, “It was so nice to see everyone happy for a change, it gave them hope.”

Overall, Dan has had a positive experience working as an athletic trainer at Loy Norrix.

“I’ve loved it here. Loy Norrix has let me be me. There weren’t people breathing down my neck, all of the coaches were very understanding and respectful of my position, and my experience at Loy Norrix was great.”  Dan continued, “I would pick Loy Norrix over any other school every day.”

After a long day of school and practice, Dan will be there to ice your knee and listen to anything that’s on your mind. This is one small reason why many students don’t see Dan as just an athletic trainer but as a person they can trust and talk to about not only sports, but personal matters as well.

Junior cross country runner Julia Pinkster said, “Dan has helped me figure out anything wrong that is going on in my body at the time to help me continue to work out and improve in sports. Dan always puts his all into students, even when the athletic training room is crowded.” 

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