Dakota Gelsheimer: Interim Head Athletic Trainer
Dakota Gelsheimer joined The University of Kansas Health System in 2017. She’s currently the interim head athletic trainer at Shawnee Mission East High School.
Gelsheimer is an integral part of the athletic program at the school. She works alongside the student-athletes, coaches, parents and doctors to ensure athletes can perform at their maximum potential while staying safe and injury-free. While she never has a typical day, she spends much of her time working with athletes on injury rehabilitation, monitoring practices and providing healthcare at games.
Originally from Springfield, Mo., Gelsheimer played soccer at Independence Community College (ICC) before earning a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Washburn University and a master’s degree in education from Central Methodist University. But it was while playing soccer at ICC and dealing with an injury that Gelsheimer developed a love for sports medicine.
"While working through rehabilitation with the athletic trainer, I learned about the art and skill of the profession," says Gelsheimer, a member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association, Kansas Athletic Trainers' Society and Missouri Athletic Trainers' Association. "I immediately fell in love and knew from that moment on that I wanted to become an athletic trainer."
For Gelsheimer, there are many rewards to working at Shawnee Mission East. She enjoys guiding her athletes through the injury recovery process and watching them grow as people, as well as educating them about their injuries so they are more equipped to avoid them in the future.
"I make sure to always sit down with them and explain their diagnosis and treatment in depth so that they can understand it," says Gelsheimer.
Gelsheimer is at the school full time, available for the daily healthcare needs of the student athletes and developing important relationships.
"Being there full time helps because the athletes learn to open up to you and to trust you,” says Gelsheimer. "They are more honest with someone they see and interact with every day. I’m showing the athletes that I am reliable and there if they need me."