As a student at Mingus Union High School, Jasmine Roland began studying sports medicine under Mike Boysen, and during that time she set her sights on becoming the head athletic trainer at her alma mater.
Nearly seven full years after graduating, Roland achieved that goal, donning the khaki pants typical of an athletic trainer and a black polo shirt adorned with the Marauders logo since January.
“The moment I took the course that first semester I became immersed in a world I knew I wanted to be a part of,” Roland said. “It’s been awesome so far. I didn’t expect to get into this position as quickly as I did.”
Roland, a Cottonwood native, grew up playing a variety of sports: Softball, basketball, soccer and golf. She competed in golf at Mingus, earning a scholarship to Mesa Community College. Upon graduation from Mesa, she earned another scholarship to Metro State University of Denver.
While away from Cottonwood, Roland and Boysen kept in touch, conscious of Roland’s goal. Upon graduating from Metro State in the spring of 2016, she returned home and sent out resumes to physical therapy clinics and the hospital.
To her surprise, within one week she received a call from Jon Cook, manager of the EntireCare Rehab and Sports Medicine department at the Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood.
“I didn’t expect to get into a position as quick as I did,” Roland said.
Returning to Mingus to work under Boysen has been nothing but smooth sailing so far. Boysen said that the school gave him an extra preparation period at the last hour of the day, allowing him to talk with Roland, answer her questions and assist her with administrative duties.
“It’s been awesome so far,” Roland said. “I wouldn’t be as comfortable without having Mike here.”
While the Marauders student-athletes were at first apprehensive about having a new trainer, according to Boysen, they have grown to like her. Being that Roland is an alumna of Mingus and her original upbringing in athletic training came under Boysen helped contribute to a smooth transition.
“It’s pretty much like having Mr. B,” senior Jordan Pollock said. “That’s the whole reason why everything works. The adjustment has been easy for everyone involved. She knows her stuff and really cares about the kids and athletes.”
Despite all of the familiarities, Roland knew she was going into a position that had been occupied for 24 years, which was somewhat daunting.
“Mr. B was my reasoning for going into college and getting into this. Now I’m here trying to the fill the shoes of someone I personally knew, it was a lot,” Roland said. “I just wanted to do well and make a seamless transition and make everyone happy.”
The steepest learning curve she has encountered so far is that of developing a system that will best suit her.
But what Roland likes most about taking the job that she had always hoped to have is that she gets to the serve the community in which she grew up.
“Coming back to the community and wanting to give back to the community I think is a big thing,” Roland said. “Just knowing somebody is there, feeling safe.”
While she does not teach the sports medicine classes, which Boysen still heads up, Roland works with students in the program after school and during home contests.
In the two months she has been on the job, only one major injury, a torn ACL during a girls soccer game, has happened.
But because of the program’s partnership with VVMC and other facilities in the Verde Valley, Roland and others can be a part of the rehabilitation process from start to finish.
“I wouldn’t be as comfortable as I am if I didn’t have Mike [Boysen] here helping me, and then just knowing all of the resources that he’s just basically created in our world of athletics in the Verde Valley,” Roland said.