By Lauren Ely | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Lauren Ely
Jennifer Rinnert wakes up every morning and gets to go to the job she has wanted since she was in high school.
Rinnert, head athletic trainer at Flagler College, knew she wanted to become an athletic trainer certified when she had the opportunity to help her high school athletic trainer as a manager for the football team.
“I was able to learn a lot about the athletic training profession and had a great time on the sidelines,” Rinnert said.
Rinnert graduated in 2004 from the University of North Florida with a bachelor’s degree in health science. After graduating she began working for Rebound Rehabilitative Services, which provided rehab services and game coverage to Flagler before the college offered job positions for athletic trainers.
After Rinnert covered Flagler Athletics for two years through Rebound Rehabilitative Services, Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine hired her in 2006 for a full time position covering Flagler College. A year later when Flagler decided to make the transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics to NCAA Division II, it added positions for Rinnert and two other assistant athletic trainers.
Rinnert has now been a head trainer for Flagler for just over four years, and has assisted Flagler Athletics for over seven years.
“Being able to help an injured athlete rehab an injury and then watching him or her return to competition and be successful is the most fulfilling part of my job,” Rinnert said.
While Rinnert has been in her profession for seven years and knows its demands, her life has changed dramatically in recent months with the birth of her daughter, Maelyn.
“My entire life has changed since I became a mother. My main focus has shifted to taking care of and nurturing my daughter,” Rinnert said. “I struggle daily with trying to maintain a work-life balance and some days it’s just not possible.”
Rinnert is the only trainer of three that covers three of Flagler’s major sports teams: women’s soccer, women’s basketball and softball. She travels with each team during away games and is always available at the gym or newly built training room at Flagler Fields.
“Jen’s like a surrogate mother,” Katie Enright, a softball player, said. “She takes care of us when we’re hurt and genuinely cares about us.”
The distance and days spent traveling have become the most difficult part of the job for Rinnert.
“Traveling on weekends gets tough,” Rinnert said. “I miss out on a lot of family time. But it is part of my job.”
She credits her husband and family for providing tremendous support to make being a mother with a career possible.
While Rinnert knows athletic training will be her lifelong career, she hopes to become more involved in the administrative side of the job.
“My long term goals include working in administration in the Flagler College Athletics Department and also being a more influential individual in the development of the Peach Belt Conference policies and standards.”