TCNJ Magazine Winter 2018

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19 WINTER 2018 Goal keeping Women's soccer scores a year for the record books. FACING PAGE: BILL CARDONI UP CLOSE > How I Got Here > As one of three full-time athletic trainers at TCNJ, I treat every sport. I work with all our varsity athletes. > We can see up to 50 athletes per day for rehabilitation or treatment. No day is the same. I could have a knee injury I know is coming in, and then out at pract- ice someone could get hurt. I have to be ready for it all when I come in to work. > I went to high school outside Philadelphia. My parents are both from Belize City, Belize. I grew up with an entire family who speaks Belizean Creole, locally known as Kriol. > I learned there was a profession that involved helping athletes return from injury and essentially get better, faster. > I was a summer camp intern with the Eagles and spent an entire season interning with the Jets. We interacted with all the players daily. A memorable moment for me was walking into the Eagles training room and seeing safety Brian Dawkins. He's my all-time favorite player, so I was a little star-struck. > Will never forget running out onto the field with the team before every game with the Eagles and Jets. The atmosphere is amazing. > One thing I can say about NFL athletes is they're just like any other athletes. Their anatomy is the same. They just want to get better. The knowledge and the tools I have to help are the same whether I am working with a TCNJ football player or a pro. JONATHAN LAING Whether it's the NFL or the Lions, keeping athletes healthy is his priority. > One major lesson I learned over the last few years is patience. When I was starting out, I would beat myself up about a decision that I made or second-guess my approach with an injury. I learned to allow the process to continue and learn from every mistake. > I would say that the Lions were fairly healthy this season compared to my first season in 2016, where we had two knee surgeries before the season was over. Football is a tough sport, and a lot of these guys play with discomfort. It's our job to make sure that they are out there competing safely. > I am a huge basketball fan, so I enjoy covering our home basketball games in the winter season. Our athletes work hard; and it is exciting to watch them play together. > Wrestling is challenging when it comes to return-to-play decisions. We often get the question: "Can I get back on the mat?" > My goal this year is to target athletes with extensive injury histories and make sure they stay on top of the therapeutic exercises — even in their o-season. > The best part of my job is seeing them play on game day — that moment when you see an athlete who has been through so much. Whether they're winning or losing, they're out there playing, and they're happy about it. > Even though I'm no longer an athlete, I still feel like I'm a part of a team. —as told to Christopher Hann 500 WINS Shout out to TCNJ's women's soccer this year: They went undefeated in regular season play, recorded the program's and the coach's 500th win, won the NJAC championship, and made it to the NCAA's Final Four. "The atmosphere at the Final Four was unlike anything else," says senior forward Christine Levering. "Our team bus got a police escort to the game." Unfortunately, says Levering, the team didn't play their best game and lost to the University of Chicago 1-0 in the semifinals. "The excitement and nerves got the best of us," she says. "It's been a remarkable journey," says Joe Russo, now in his 28th year as head coach. "The 500th win was special. And it goes back to who you share it with. We have a great sta. And a really special and unique group of girls." —Kara Pothier

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