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Department Spotlight

Former Whitworth Pirate to Swim with Miami Dolphins

Whitworth graduate Daren Nystrom will exchange the sunny sands of the Pacific for the warm beaches of the Atlantic as his athletic-training career moves eastward. Nystrom, '02, was recently hired by the Miami Dolphins pro-football team as an intern athletic trainer. He is currently a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Fresno State University in Fresno, Calif., where he is completing a master's degree in kinesiology. Nystrom will graduate in May, and his position in Miami will officially begin June 17.

Nystrom graduated from Whitworth with a B.A. in athletic training and a B.A. in physical education. The Whitworth Athletic Training Education Program requires students to complete a certain number of clinical hours in conjunction with the academic portion of the degree. Nystrom amassed these hours over a two-year period (could you include here what he did for his clinical hours?). He also served as a student athletic trainer for the Whitworth men's basketball team during the 2000-01 school year and as the 1999 health coordinator for Warren Residence Hall.

When reflecting upon his education at Whitworth, Nystrom expresses gratefulness and respect. Among those who particularly influenced him and his career path were athletic-department faculty Russ Richardson, Melinda Larson, Mike Ediger and Todd Sandberg.

"They were the best role models a student could hope for and each filled a different niche in my education," Nystrom says. "Whitworth provided me with spiritual support when it could have been very easy for me to stray from God's plan."

In addition to his academic pursuits at Fresno State, Nystrom serves as the university's certified athletic trainer for the intercollegiate wrestling team and assists with other sports, including football and men's basketball. He teaches three lab classes for undergraduate students in athletic training, and over the past two years he has taught courses on therapeutic modalities, physical rehabilitation and athletic injury assessment, as well as an introductory course to athletic training. Nystrom's mentor Russ Richardson completed his graduate degree through Fresno State, and Nystrom was able to obtain this position through him.

The Miami Dolphins will fly Nystrom to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to help with mini camps (three-day practice sessions) and assist with new-player physicals after the draft in late April-early May. Nystrom will serve as an intern athletic trainer and will work with full-time staff to provide healthcare to the athletes in the organization. His duties will include assisting with the evaluation, taping and treating of athletes' injuries, maintaining inventory, and completing other assignments from the Dolphins' head athletic trainer, Kevin O'Neill. In his position with the Dolphins, Nystrom will also travel with the team. He and his wife will move to Ft. Lauderdale, home of the team's training facility, immediately after they return from their honeymoon, in Maui.