Associate Athletic Trainer- Football, Davenport University/Corewell Health
“Being an Athletic Trainer, I get to solve problems and help people every day.”
In the world of sports, there are individuals who play on the field, capturing our attention with their incredible skills and athleticism. But behind the scenes, there are dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to keep these athletes healthy and in peak condition. One such individual is Stephen Waltersdorf, an Associate Athletic Trainer for Football at Davenport University and Corewell Health.
Growing up in Pinckney, MI, Waltersdorf once harbored dreams of becoming a professional athlete. Throughout high school, he excelled in three sports, pouring his heart and soul into his athletic pursuits. However, he came to the realization that reaching the professional level wasn't meant to be. Nevertheless, his passion for sports remained unwavering.
Aspiring to pursue a career in the medical field, Waltersdorf initially considered becoming a Physical Therapist. However, he had reservations about working primarily with elderly patients. A serendipitous opportunity presented itself when he shadowed an Athletic Trainer during his high school years. This experience sparked a newfound passion for the field and set him on the path to becoming an athletic trainer.
“It's the perfect profession for me to stay involved with athletics now that I'm no longer competing,” said Waltersdorf.
Armed with determination, Waltersdorf obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Athletic Training from Hope College in Holland, MI. Building upon his foundation, he then pursued a Master of Science in Kinesiology from Michigan State University, equipping himself with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in his field.
Waltersdorf’s inherent nature as a problem solver and his love for helping others align perfectly with his role as an Athletic Trainer. He thrives on the challenges he faces daily and
takes pride in being able to make a difference in athletes' lives through his problem-solving abilities. One of Waltersdorf’s key strengths is his ability to see situations from all angles, keeping a level head even in the face of adversity. This skill not only enables him to approach injuries and challenges with clarity but also helps him understand people and their motivations.
Throughout his career, Waltersdorf has encountered numerous memorable moments.
From being part of the NCAA D2 football playoffs during a whiteout blizzard to celebrating back-to-back conference regular season and tournament championships with the baseball team, he has experienced the thrill of victory and the excitement of intense competition.
Behind every successful professional, there's often a guiding figure who inspires and
imparts wisdom. For Waltersdorf that person is Dr. Kendall Hamilton, the head team physician at Davenport University. Dr. Hamilton's dedication to patient care, passion for sports, and love for people make him an admirable mentor and role model.
Waltersdorf is acutely aware of the mental toll that injuries take on athletes. Amidst theglamour and fame of professional sports, the mental challenges that athletes face when sidelined are often overlooked. Helping athletes find their sense of purpose again after an injury is one of the most rewarding aspects of his profession.
“Being able to help them become themselves again is the most rewarding,” said
As part of the sports medicine team, Waltersdorf appreciates the privacy and confidentiality that sideline tents provide during games. These tents allow them to conduct injury evaluations away from loud crowds.
In a world that often glamorizes the achievements of athletes, Stephen Waltersdorf's story reminds us of the essential role played by professionals like him. Behind the scenes, their expertise, compassion, and problem-solving skills contribute significantly to the success and well-being of athletes. Waltersdorf's unwavering commitment to his profession and the positive impact he has on athletes' lives make him a true hero in the world of sports medicine.
Written by Allison Ragland