To most sports teams, the most important person is the star player, or maybe the coach, but to teams at Marian, one of the most important people is Mrs. Melissa Brusnahan. Brusnahan is the athletic trainer and does more for the athletic department as a whole than most students know. On top of being an athletic trainer and mother, Brusnahan has worked as the Assistant Athletic Director since 1997, along with being part of the Emergency Response Team, whose members rush to assist students and staff when they get injured in the building.
“I do all evaluations, treatment and rehabilitation sessions throughout the day during student study halls or lunch,” Brusnahan said. “If I’m not busy with that, I’m doing Athletic Director duties.”
As soon as practice time starts at 3:30, her job is in full swing. She watches the teams practice and makes sure that if she is needed, she’s always right around the corner. Along with her athletic training duties, she teaches a few student assistants how to properly make ice bags, tape ankles and provide other basic athletic training services. “It’s hard to do all of my athletic training duties on my own. In the fall, there’s four volleyball teams inside, two softball teams outside, and 50 cross country runners everywhere,” Brusnahan said. “I can’t be everywhere at once, so it’s just nice to have an extra set of hands helping me out with things.”
Senior Abby Russell, one of the Varsity softball team captains, says that her team holds much respect for Brusnahan. “Melissa always helps out everyone, even when it’s not asked of her. She does so much for our team behind the scenes, and we are so lucky to have her,” Russell said.
As the Assistant Athletic Director, Brusnahan confirms schedules with other schools, confirms officials for games and adds the scores to Marian’s website for the use of Journalism students and parents who might have missed a game. “It’s a unique position, but it’s really beneficial because when I’m not busy treating athletes, then I’m free to do a lot of the athletic directing duties,” Brusnahan said. Ms. Rochelle Rohlfs, Athletic Director, covers most of the Athletic Department responsibilities, but like Brusnahan, cannot be everywhere at once. “She does so much work behind the scenes for the athletic department. I definitely wouldn’t be able to function without her, and the games wouldn’t run nearly as smoothly,” Rohlfs said. “When I go to other schools and witness what athletic training is available to them, Melissa’s expertise and the care she gives to our student athletes is second to none.”
Brusnahan works tirelessly for Marian, as the rest of the staff does, and never lets her personal life get in the way of her duties as the athletic trainer or Assistant Athletic Director. She has three daughters, Melanie ’19, Jessica ’21 and Charli ’23.
“As far as the amount of work, it’s really a lot, to be honest. She has 10-hour days sometimes, of setting up schedules, working practices, communicating with coaches and stuff. She really does love to connect with students, especially the student trainers or the girls who end up in her office a lot with injuries,” Charli said. The scholastic athletic training community is close knit, and Brusnahan is respected throughout it. She has been with Marian for much of her professional career, and athletes hope she will stay for the rest of it.