A healing Lady Saint!

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 11, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

When she was growing up in Holland, Kristin Beale enjoyed watching football. But seeing the sport on television wasn’t good enough for the then-Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (NSA) student; she wanted to get a little closer to the game.

Not that Beale was ready strap on some pads and toss would-be tacklers out of the way. Rather, her interest was in the oft-overlooked healing side of the game.

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&uot;I’d see players go down, and I’d wonder who would take care of them,&uot; she recalls. &uot;I thought about what I could do to help a player who had been hurt.&uot;

From eighth through tenth grade at NSA, Beale served and spiked on the school volleyball courts. But during the 1996-97 a special visitor showed her a way to realize her true sports-related desires: NSA athletic trainer Brandi Anderson.

&uot;She had heard that I was interested in sports, and she asked if I’d like to learn more about training,&uot; Beale says. &uot;I started working with her every day. We’d go to practices and work with athletes, helping them ice their injuries and keeping them hydrated.&uot;

That summer, she attended the Cramer Camp at William and Mary, where trainers-in-training can discover more about the basics of sports medicine. &uot;We learned about anatomy, first aid, and more about working with athletes,&uot; Beale says.

For the next year, Beale, Anderson, and the rest of the NSA trainers nursed the Saint and Lady Saint athletes through all sorts of aches and pains. In the summer of 1998, Beale moved up in the Cramer Camp. &uot;That was a more complex area,&uot; she says. &uot;We learned about how the body’s systems work together, and how to help with tougher injuries, like torn ACLs.&uot;

By her senior year, Beale had become a familiar sight on NSA sidelines, always ready with a roll of athletic tape, a bandage, or a bottle of refreshing water (most of which, she recalls, was for the football and boys’ lacrosse teams). After graduating in 1999, she decided to continue her therapeutic career at Lynchburg College.

&uot;They were interested in me because I had previous experience,&uot; she says. &uot;On my first day, I was out on the field, helping with the women’s soccer team.

&uot;I think I’m pretty impatient,&uot; Beale laughs. &uot;I always tried to do as much as I could, as fast as I could.&uot; That became obvious during her college years; for all four years as a Lady Hornet, she was the head student athletic trainer for two teams a year.

When one is so close to the action, she admits, the line between trainer and fan can often be blurred. &uot;You can cheer to an extent, but it’s still your job to take care of the players and be professional.&uot; Beale considers her favorite season to be her junior year, when she was the trainer for the Lynchburg womens’ soccer team that took seventh place in the nation.

Last May, Beale received her bachelor of science degree in sports medicine (emphasis in athletic training) from Lynch-burg. Now, she’s turning to a more spiritual side of sports.

&uot;I think that my dream job would probably be a teacher in a Christian high school,&uot; she says. &uot;I want to help athletes understand who God is, and exhibit their relationship with Him while they’re playing with their competitiveness and attitude. The talents that they have are given to them by God.&uot; The former Lady Saint plans to pursue a master’s degree in Christian education with an emphasis in youth and collegiate ministry at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

But before she heads to south central American, Beale’s going to travel a little farther down the east coast; this weekend, she begins her second year of working as a counselor at Centrifuge, a camp put on by Lifeway Christian Resources. This year, it’s in Mississippi.

Teens from grade seven through 12 enroll in the camp with their respective church groups. Each day begins with a bit of Bible study, followed by a recreational period.

Then it’s on to Track Times, a variety of classes and/or sports. Here’s where Beale’s skills might come in extra handy.

&uot;Last year, they had to call an ambulance 12 times in nine weeks!&uot; she says. &uot;I’m going to be there to help them if they get hurt.&uot;