December 21, 2012 | 10:40 a.m.
By Jared Johnson, Sports Information Director
Athletic training took on a new meaning for Bethel’s assistant athletic trainer Jamie Dolieslager recently when she was asked to leave the classroom and apply her teaching as the head trainer for USA Hockey in early November.
“Do you want to go to Finland?” was the question asked to Dolieslager several months ago, as USA Hockey looked for a lead trainer to serve them at Four Nations—an annual ice hockey tournament held between the four major national teams in the sport (Canada, USA, Sweden, and Finland)—and at the 2014 Olympics.
Dolieslager, who grew up in Sioux Center, Iowa, remembers her response was, “I don’t have a passport.”
Fortunately, it turned out not to matter because Dolieslager was asked to be the head athletic trainer for the team’s pre-camp in White Plains, N.Y., just a few weeks before the team traveled overseas.
Dolieslager, who is in her 14th year at Bethel, said, “As a small-town farm girl from Iowa, being asked to work with a national team was really cool. I had never been to New York, and I had never had an opportunity of this size as an athletic trainer.”
She continued, “At the same time, however, I was freaking out because the process is very analyzed and you never know if there’s a next step. Additionally, I questioned whether I was good enough and why they wanted me.”
Self-esteem wouldn’t be the only anxiety for Dolieslager, though, as her time in New York also happened to be right in the middle of Hurricane Sandy. Because of the weather, Dolieslager had to fly into Boston and then drive to New York. Once she and the team arrived, they essentially lived at the MSG Training Center.
“The only way we could keep the camp going was to have all of our resources in one spot,” said Dolieslager. “I’d leave the hotel and be at the facility the entire day, until we came back to the hotel at night. Then we’d repeat the routine the next day—for five days.”
While at the team’s pre-camp for Four Nations, Dolieslager was on hand for all activities, including testing, workouts, skill sessions, weights, and practice. She met the needs of players, while having the opportunity to use the newest equipment.
“I felt right at home once I got there,” said Dolieslager, who is also an instructor in the human kinetics and applied health sciences department. “Not only did I love working with the resources on site, but I loved having the ability to interact with the high-level athletes. You expect them to be hard, but these skaters were friendly.”
Dolieslager made friends with the skaters and even had several opportunities to witness about Christ.
“We teach students within our program to be salt and light in the athletic world—a place that is typically dark and aggressive—and I had the opportunity to be just that.” Dolieslager recently got her first tattoo, which is a self-designed image of the trinity. “It opened the door to several conversations about my personal faith and how it affects the way I live,” she said.
Following the camp in White Plains, N.Y., Dolieslager learned that Travis Green, a Bethel alum and massage therapist for the Minnesota Wild, would be traveling with the team to Finland. However, Dolieslager hopes she will continue to work with the team at additional camps and possibly during the 2014 Olympics.