Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – Student-athletes at Pacific Lutheran University are known for giving back to the community. Women's soccer student-athlete Blakely Sanders gives back to her PLU Athletic community in a way that few do on a year-round basis, serving as an athletic training aide when not on the soccer pitch.
For the last four years Sanders has been a part of the women's soccer program, a stretch that has seen the Lutes win 62 games and two Northwest Conference titles. She's spent a majority of her time backing up a pair of stalwart goalkeepers in All-American Takara Mitsui and All-NWC selection Natalie Robinson. Away from the turf at East Field, Sanders serves as an assistant to the athletic training staff at PLU. Sanders has helped with football, men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and track & field.
"I have learned a lot about rehab and recovery of athletes as an athletic training aid," Sanders said. "I am very thankful for the opportunity to help out in a field that relates to my major and future career choice."
Sanders hopes to become an occupational therapist. Sanders schedule has been filled with sporting events, either playing or working them. At times, she's even pulled double duty by suiting up for a game in the afternoon, then putting on her athletic training attire to help with a volleyball match.
Sanders helps with the day-to-day activities of the athletic training room. She greets patients, helps with first aid, and assists in game day operations. No matter the situation, Sanders is likely to serve with a smile on her face.
"What Blakely brings more than anything else is positivity," assistant athletic trainer Todd Yamauchi said. "I think our athletes are really comfortable around her. They vibe off of her positivity. No matter who the person is, she treats everyone the same. That's really helpful because it creates better morale."
Sanders, an exercise science major, is well on her way to a career full of service that PLU can be proud of.