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Living, working in sports

Marie BooMarie Boo ’11 always knew she wanted to work in collegiate athletics.

“I sought out as many opportunities as I could to be engrossed in all aspects of athletics,” the Anoka, Minnesota, native says.

Sometimes that meant helping cover local and high school sporting events, attending national conferences or volunteering to assist athletic trainers.

“While this helped me to know the day-to-day demands of the profession and the ‘non-glamorous’ side to athletics most do not see, it also helped me to build relationships with our athletic trainers and team physicians,” she says.

Now, as one of five full-time physical therapists for the Stanford University Department of Athletics in Stanford, California, Marie regards her education and work experiences as fundamental assets to her rising career in sports.

Academic realm

During her time at CSB, Marie completed a major in biology and a minor in sports medicine (the minor is now called exercise science and sport studies or ESSS). For Marie, the sports medicine courses complemented the biology courses well. The sports medicine curriculum helped Marie to broaden and integrate her understanding of biological concepts in the areas of human performance and sports injuries. The flexibility of the minor curriculum also allowed Marie to complete all the prerequisite courses for physical therapy school.

 “It is a fantastic program with a variety of classes offering a breadth of knowledge about all aspects of exercise science, sports medicine and sports in general,” she says.

Throughout her four years, Marie worked as a sports medicine assistant in CSB’s athletic training room and served as president of the Physical Therapy/Athletic Training Club (now called the Allied Health Club). She also worked with CSB/SJU professors Don Fischer and Dr. Mary Stenson as a senior research assistant.

“The faculty and professors are remarkable in their teaching approach and ability to get students excited about their studies,” she says. “Their classes are not only fun, but also engaging and challenging with real-world application.”

Life in athletics

In 2014, Marie obtained her doctorate in physical therapy from University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her certification as a strength and conditioning specialist.

“Having the ESSS faculty hold me to a higher standard truly elevated my own standards,” she says. “I felt very well prepared for graduate school because of their exceptional teaching and mentoring.”

Soon after, Marie pursued specialized training with a sports physical therapy residency in Fort Worth, Texas. During this time, she also provided rehabilitation and on-field coverage for Division I student athletes at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

“This allowed me to sit for a specialized boards exam and become a sports certified specialist,” she says.

On the job

After residency, Marie worked as a full-time physical therapist for a sports medicine clinic in Texas. Nearly two years later, she started working full-time at Stanford.

“Treating only Division I athletes is a very unique setting,” Marie says. “I love watching my athletes compete on the field/court once they are done with rehab. To see them back in their sport is not only fun but also extremely rewarding. I cannot imagine a more fun and enjoyable job.”

Aside from everyday appointments with athletes, Marie works closely with the team physicians, athletic trainers and performance coaches to develop comprehensive and integrated rehab approaches and performance timelines. She also provides occasional event coverage on the weekends for various Stanford events.

More often than not, Marie falls under the pressure of a timeline when an athlete is in-season.

“I love the creativity it requires to get an athlete not just back to daily life, but to get them back to excelling at the various demands of elite-level sport,” she says. “I enjoy breaking down the complexities and intricacies of their sport/position and progressing them back to confidently competing at the highest level.”