New Dixon athletic trainer bleeds purple
The question came up a few times during orientation. It was a gimme.
Whenever KSB staffers asked what her dream job was, Courtney Bond could smile and say, "I've already got it."
After settling in at the hospital Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday was her first day on the job as athletic trainer at Dixon High School. It's part of a cooperative service agreement that will see Bond at the high school the majority of the time during the school year.
On Wednesday, she made the rounds, meeting all the fall sports teams and fielding "a lot of really good questions."
"I have wanted this since I was certified 4 years ago," said Bond, who received her certification through the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification in 2010. She completed her undergraduate studies at Millikin University, where she also set the school's 400-meter hurdles record in 2004.
"This is where I've wanted to work, and this is how I've wanted to work," she continued. "I've always wanted to be my hometown [athletic trainer], and I couldn't have gotten it without KSB."
It was an exquisite time to introduce a secret weapon, what with the Dixon Dukes set to entertain Geneseo on Friday night.
Athletic Director Karen Price, who was instrumental in the cooperative, introduced Bond to the football players before practice at Reagan Middle School on Wednesday evening.
"She got a great welcome from us," Dixon junior Matt Coffey said. "The guys gave her an ovation, and we'll bring her right into the family."
"They were clapping, and it was really cool," Bond said. "I remember when we had an athletic trainer there and how much we looked up to her, and how much we utilized her."
She refers to Andi Sumerfelt, whose cooperative position was eliminated about a half-dozen years ago. Dixon hasn't had a certified athletic trainer in the interim.
Suffice to say, a lot of folks in Dixon are as excited as they are relieved.
"It makes you feel like you're more protected, that someone's there who knows what they're doing," Coffey said.
But no one is more excited than Brandon Woodward, Bond's brother, who graduated from Dixon in 2002, the year before his kid sister got her diploma.
Check that. Bond's husband, Kel, a teacher at Dixon and track coach, has got to be pretty ecstatic, too.
But Woodward, formerly a coach in Erie, took a teaching position and the girls track head coach job last year.
"It's about time we got a trainer," Woodward said. "We need one. She's very knowledgeable, and I believe in her abilities. We need more Dixon people in positions. She lives across the river, and she bleeds purple just as much as I do."
While meeting the team, Bond did her best to convey what she has to offer. But she didn't reveal all her secrets, insisting that they visit her for more information.
Friday night will be something of a gridiron reunion for Bond and Woodward, as he's the freshman football head coach and a varsity assistant. He played football at North Central College, a fellow member of the College Conference of Illinois Wisconsin, along with Millikin.
"It's not uncharted for us to see each other on the field," Woodward said.
Even on the road, they'll work together. Bond will travel for each football game, even for the freshman contests. She'll have hours at the high school Monday through Friday.
"That's going to be so convenient," said Coffey, one of the Dukes' biggest offensive threats with 21 receptions for 287 yards.
Bond will also work Saturdays, when competition requires. Don't let that last phrase suggest that she'll only work when needed.
"This is a labor of love," Bond said.
She's aware of an athletic trainer's value in all sports. She'll even attend a bowling meet.
"If I'm available and there's not competition from other sports? Absolutely," she said.
She's ready to dive in feet first. What better way than against a program that's generated its share of "ground and pound" headlines over the years in Geneseo?
Bond wants to do more than rap ankles and identify concussions. Read up on her vision in Christopher Heimerman's blog at saukvalley.com/blogs/extra-extra.