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Students walking along the path outside of the science complex in between classes on a sunny spring day.

Compassion and Compression

Posted on 07.27.20 by Maddie Loverich in College of Arts & Science

Her desire to help people and passion for sports aligned perfectly when Alana Nuttman decided to major in athletic training her first year at Linfield.

Alana and friend at the trackHer admiration for athletic training began at Heritage High School, where she played softball. Jokingly, she mentions she was “very injury prone in high school,” which is how she got to know the athletic trainer Andy Goss. Goss was the only athletic trainer at the 4A school but Nuttman says he managed to create valuable connections with every athlete he helped. She didn’t know it at the time, but his ability to make every athlete feel comfortable and supported became motivation in her own career goals. Arriving at Linfield in the fall of 2017, Nuttman was prepared to obtain a major in biochemistry.

This changed quickly after taking a class with the athletic training program director, Laura Kenow.

After taking the class and briefly shadowing a senior in the department, she was hooked and applied for the program in the spring of her first year.

Alana on a deck in her Wildcat gear“Being in that environment for just that one hour, I just fell in love with the connection that the student trainers had with their peers and the connections the preceptors (professors) had with the students. They grew so much from just being in that small room, learning from each other.”

Entering her senior year, Nuttman has already gained extensive experience in athletic training.

Alanna in her internship roleStudents are given the opportunity to experience working with every sport at the college, from higher-risk (football) to lower-risk (swimming). This allowed her to gain valuable knowledge in various situations, which she says is a perk of the hands-on Linfield program.

She also gained some experience shadowing the athletic trainer at Mountainside High School in Beaverton. There, the athletic trainer helped her gain confidence in her abilities by giving her more responsibility. This allowed her to take initiative practicing new techniques in a different environment.

“That’s where my confidence showed. She showed me I was there for a reason, because I know what I’m doing.”

Alana coaching high school athletesNuttman’s love of sports has led her to coaching for the 12U Oregon Blaze, a select softball team out of Beaverton. For most of her life, she played softball, which made this the perfect opportunity to use her experience to mentor the young athletes.

Even during quarantine, the team continued to practice virtually. By using Zoom, Nuttman says the coaching staff tried to keep the practice schedule as normal as possible, by constantly including new and fun ways for the girls to get work in without being physically together. The girls handled the situation remarkably well, embracing the adversity and making the most of the time apart. “They are just so motivated,” Nuttman said of the athletes. “I was able to watch their technique and give them feedback, and they were able to progress and learn over those few months.” Their adaptability impressed their coaches, making it a fun and productive alternative during the unprecedented time apart.

a group hug with her student athletesCoaching has only solidified Nuttman’s love of working with athletes.

Ideally, she sees herself athletic training at a high school or a small college like Linfield, crediting the strong community feel to her passion for the field. She looks forward to being a part of the growing profession, saying “I want to inspire people in that same way.”