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Injuries provide the inspiration for a career choice in sports medicine

Bill Milligan photo Tara Weiss, who is pursuing a career in sports medicine, demonstrates the skills she learned attending career clinics at the Missouri Bone and Joint Center.

For the Call

A Mehlville Senior High School student found her career inspiration in something that most people would think traumatic.

Senior Tara Weiss, 18, the daughter of Larry and Debbie Weiss of Concord, al-ways has been active in sports. But the injuries she suffered wound up being her career inspiration.

"My freshman year, I rolled my ankle 90 degrees playing volleyball,'' Weiss said. "The trainers were there right away. I couldn't walk and I was scared.

"I was like: 'I want to play basketball.' They were saying 'It's OK, It's OK.' They convince you you're going to be OK,'' she said. "They made me not want to start crying.''

They convinced her that being an athletic trainer would be an enjoyable, rewarding career. And, Weiss said, it could keep her in touch with the activities that she's enjoyed throughout her school career so far.

Weiss has been in volleyball four years at Mehlville, swimming for four years, basketball for two years, Student Council and the National Honor Society. This year she is the Student Council's second vice president.

"Volleyball and sports aided my decision to go into sports medicine,'' Weiss said. "I love watching and playing sports, so I decided to go into a career where I can do that.''

But while she loves sports, her intensity has sometimes led to injury.

"Every year I've been hurt,'' Weiss said. "I tore ligaments in my ankle, I had surgery to my knees. Both my knee caps slid out of place. There's been several injuries.

"I had a couple of surgeries that I went through. The athletic trainers I worked with had so much fun doing what they do that I got an interest in it. The trainer here at Mehlville, you can tell that he has fun at his job. He makes it look like a fun career.''

So much fun, in fact, that Weiss began attending career clinics at the Missouri Bone and Joint Center on Olive Road off Interstate 270. There she worked with athletic trainers one on one during two-hour sessions sometimes as much as four times a week.

"I don't want to be in an office when I begin working,'' Weiss said. "I want to get out with people. A lot of athletes are fun people and outgoing and the trainers are having fun, too.''

Fun is important to this teen.

"We had a very good volleyball team here this year,'' Weiss said. "We had a blast. The players, the coaches, everyone bonded very well. We were real good, 24-7 or something like that. We lost to the people that won the state, but we could have beat them.''

Next fall, Weiss will be enrolled in South-east Missouri State's Athletic Training courses in Cape Girardeau.

"I'll hopefully be working in a hospital setting with student athletes who want to get in better shape, or with injuries, after they've been hurt. It would be neat to be around students all day, to go to sports events. I'd get a lot of exercise.''

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