Rohrberg aims to bring healing touch to Tabor assignment

It’s not that Justin Rohrberg wants people to get injured.

It’s just that the new assistant athletic trainer at Tabor College gets to know best those students who come to him for treatment of their sports-induced aches and pains.

And already this fall, Rohrberg said he has spent quality time in the training room and out at the field with about half of the Tabor football team’s 105 players.

“I only get to know them if they get hurt, but I welcome it,” said Rohrberg, 25. “The best part about the job is the different people I get to work with on a daily basis.”

And getting hurt himself actually led Rohrberg to his choice of career, he said, after a back injury landed him in physical therapy during his first year out of junior college in his native Tucson, Ariz.

“I still hadn’t decided on a major,” said Rohrberg, who transferred soon after to Bethany College in Lindsborg, where he earned all-KCAC honors in soccer and graduated in December 2003 with a degree in athletic training.

“So I thought if I could incorporate therapy-which I was going through at the time and I really liked a lot-with sports, then that’d be a good career choice,” he said.

“Athletic training was it.”

Rohrberg stayed on staff at Bethany for the following spring semester, then moved to his parents’ new hometown to spend the next school year at Fort Hays State University taking care of prerequisites for graduate school.

“My parents actually moved to Hays after I graduated from high school,” said Rohrberg of his father, a Lutheran minister, and his mother, a registered nurse.

“I wasn’t ready to move to Kansas yet, so I went to junior college in Tucson for three years,” he added.

And now that he’s followed his family’s path in making Kansas home, Rohrberg said he’s not in a hurry to leave anymore.

“I remember when I moved from Arizona, I was dead set on going back,” he said. “But now, living in Kansas has broadened my horizons a little bit.

“I’m open to wherever the Lord wants to take me,” he added.

And for the next year or so, Rohrberg said it’s pretty apparent the Lord has led him to Hillsboro.

“I was planning on taking a year just to work so I could kind of get things arranged for graduate school,” he said.

“Tabor was looking for someone for one year and I was looking for a job for one year, so it fit nice.”

From the size of the surrounding town to the blue-and-gold uniforms of the players, Rohrberg’s new college community bears a striking resemblance to his alma mater, he said.

“Things are pretty similar to Bethany,” he said. “Each one has their certain charms.”

Rohrberg added that he doesn’t get too much grief from the Bluejays for having played at a rival KCAC school.

“I get razzed a little bit by some of the players,” he said with a smile. “But it’s been a good transition.

Rohrberg said his main job-assisting head trainer Jim Moore in caring for Tabor athletes-is providing him plenty of learning opportunities.

With five fall sports going on at Tabor, Rohrberg said he attends two or three sporting events per week in addition to covering practices and being available in the training room for walk-ins.

“We’ll also have athletes stop by that need different things looked at-they might have gotten hurt over the weekend and we didn’t get a chance to look at them,” he said.

“So we’ll do an evaluation on them then and kind of get an idea of what’s going on.”

Rohrberg also spends part of his work day helping students in another area of campus.

“I do have a small teaching part-I do some lab instruction for the human anatomy and physiology course,” he said.

Rohrberg emphasized that the short-term nature of his position won’t keep him from investing time and energy in the individuals around him while he is here.

“I’d really like to get involved in the community, even though I’m only going to be here for a year,” he said.

And those he works around most frequently are a natural starting point for that involvement.

“I’m trying to start a small-group Bible study with the younger staff and personnel here at the college,” he said. “And I’m going to adopt some students, I think.”

But Rohrberg is also excited for what lies ahead of him this summer: graduate studies in the field of physical therapy.

“At the moment, Wichita State and KU are my top two schools of choice,” he said. “I’ve got to get my applications in here soon, and hopefully that’ll happen.”

Another of Rohrberg’s goals is to become a certified strength and conditioning specialist, he said.

In doing so, he would follow in the footsteps of both Moore and John Sparks, Tabor’s head baseball coach and assistant professor of physical education.

Rohrberg has some idea of how he would eventually like to use his training in the work force.

“I’d really like to open up my own clinic,” he said. “I like helping people feel and get better.”

Aiding in rehabilitation of injuries is Rohrberg’s favorite part of athletic training, he said, and he’ll get to do even more of that in the physical therapy field.

“(Rehabilitation) is a lot more intense in that area,” he said.

Rohrberg has some simple advice for athletes under his care: come early, come often.

“I wish they would pay attention to what they’re feeling in their bodies more,” he said. “Sometimes they’ll have something bothering them that they won’t think about coming to the trainer for, and so something will go unchecked for maybe a week.

“It’ll set them back even further because they didn’t see us initially to get treatment for it,” Rohrberg added.

“Sometimes just them paying attention to their aches and pains helps us out a little bit in getting them back to their playing status.”

More from article archives
Staff take late trip to Wichita
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOEL KLAASSEN For a summer outing, our Hillsboro Free Press...
Read More