Skyview athletic trainer nominated for national award

SHS athletic trainer is one of three regional nominees for the Newell Award

VANCOUVER —  When injuries occur in the sports world of Skyview High School, the person on call must quickly diagnose the situation and remain calm enough to relax the player.

For many in Clark County, Jeff Kraayeveld not only just does his job; but he exemplifies what it means to be an athletic trainer. Such is the reason for his recent nomination for The Newell Award and National Athletic Trainer of the Year.

Jeff Kraayeveld is shown here working with Skyview soccer player Ben Picinich after he suffered a knee injury and is now in recovery. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Jeff Kraayeveld is shown here working with Skyview soccer player Ben Picinich after he suffered a knee injury and is now in recovery. Photo by Jacob Granneman

“I just love what I do, and I’m passionate about helping people,” Kraayeveld said. “ I think it says a lot that I was nominated, I feel honored, definitely.”

Jeff Kraayeveld has worked in athletic training and physical therapy for nearly 20 years. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Jeff Kraayeveld has worked in athletic training and physical therapy for nearly 20 years. Photo by Jacob Granneman

Kraayeveld, who works full-time in physical therapy at Rebound Orthopedics in Vancouver, has been contracted with Union, and now Skyview High School as their on site athletic trainer for sports since 2007.

As an athletic trainer in Washington, Jeff is able to facilitate rehabilitation for post-op athletes as well as physical therapy, exercise training and, of course, on-the-field assessments.

“I do it all,” he said, laughing.

After graduating from the Washington State University (in Pullman) athletic training program, Jeff went on to do an on-field internship with the Seattle Seahawks; his dad’s old team.

Dave Kraayeveld, Jeff’s father, played as a defensive end for the Seahawks for a short stent in 1978. Jeff’s sister Cathrine also went pro, playing in the WNBA for the San Antonio Silver Stars for eight years.

“We grew up, we didn’t go camping or fishing, we played sports,” Jeff said. “Sports was a big thing in my family. I think that’s what drove me to get into [athletic training].”     

This year, Kraayeveld’s peers at Rebound Orthopedics decided he ought to be nominated for The Newell Award, in light of his devotion to both Skyview and Rebound.

“He’s an amazing athletic trainer,” said Kathy Black, the community relations specialist who organized the nominations for the award. “I feel Jeff is just as deserving as anyone else. He plays a huge part in Clark County athletic trainers.”  

During many practices and games, Kraayeveld watches from the sidelines, ready to diagnose and assist any injured player. Photo by Jacob Granneman
During many practices and games, Kraayeveld watches from the sidelines, ready to diagnose and assist any injured player. Photo by Jacob Granneman

The communications department at Rebound chose their own Dr. James Chesnutt to nominate one to three athletic trainers in the region for the award; two being in Oregon and Kraayeveld in Clark County.

The award itself is named for William E. Newell, who is considered the “Father of Athletic Training” in the U.S. and the world. As the founding member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Newell is remembered by the group through the award.

Representatives from The Newell Award committee will reach out to the schools and then relay people’s testimonials and nominations back to Dr. Chesnutt, who will pick the regional finalist out of the three nominated this Friday, April 12.

The Newell Award National Committee will judge finalists, and announce a winner in May of this year. The recipient receives $2,500 for his or her school, and a personal award of $10,000.

“I think the fun part about what I get to do is see these athletes from a young age, and you get to follow them through their high school career,” Kraayeveld said. “I get to work with a kid who blew out their ACL and day one they’re in the clinic, post-op … discouraged and their scared. I get to walk them through that process, all the way to when they get back on the field. That’s what keeps me going.”

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About The Author

Jacob Granneman is a filmmaker and writer from Clark County. He is a graduate of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College, where he studied journalism and media production. He has produced documentary stories all over the Pacific Northwest and abroad in Argentina. His passions range from sharing the love of Jesus, to cinematography, to going on adventures in the most beautiful place on earth, i.e. his backyard. He lives with his wife in Vancouver, WA. Proverbs 16:3

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