Lori Uretsky’s life is made up of goals. She sets a goal, works hard and achieves it nearly every time. Then, she sets a new one and begins again.
Today, her goal is to get the USA Women’s National Field Hockey Team to and through the 2016 Olympics. Keeping her team healthy during the most important competition of their lives will the ultimate reward for Uretsky as an athletic trainer.
“I think it’s important to have short-term goals and long-term ideas,” she said. “Right now, I am focused on doing whatever it is I can to keep the Women’s National Team healthy and training as we prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games.”
When she entered Waynesburg University in 1994 as a sports medicine major and a biology minor, Uretsky’s hope was to become a successful student athlete. She played softball for Waynesburg for four years, graduating with 18 school records. She was also named the President’s Athletic Conference (PAC) Freshman of the Year in 1995, All-Conference all four years, PAC Player of the Week twice and softball team captain her senior year.
Uretsky’s career goals were clear to her during the entire course of her Waynesburg education. She worked as a student athletic trainer for the school, and she knew that when she graduated she wanted to work as an athletic trainer at the NCAA Division I level – a trainer for a college or university whose name everyone knew. It was this goal she identified when one of her professors told a group of students to write a letter to themselves in five years.
“My goals throughout my time at Waynesburg never changed,” said Uretsky. “I remember speaking to [my professor] several times about how to reach that goal, how much it meant to me and if I believed it was possible. Five years after I graduated, I received my letter from [her], and upon opening it, I had achieved all that I wanted.”
Uretsky graduated from Waynesburg in 1998 and became a Board-Certified Athletic Trainer in 1999. She then landed her dream job, fulfilling her NCAA Division I goal, as an athletic trainer for several sports teams at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and worked there for 10 years.
Uretsky largely credits Waynesburg for her success both at Bucknell University and in her current position.
“Waynesburg is with me every day,” she said. “The education I had is still utilized every time I step foot into the athletic training room or onto the field hockey pitch. Waynesburg helped me learn how to return an athlete back to playing following an injury, how to discuss injuries with coaches and how important trust is with the people you work with. As a student athletic trainer and a student athlete, I learned first-hand just how important the relationship between an athletic trainer and an athlete can be.”
Now, as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Women’s National Field Hockey Team, Uretsky ensures the care, prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries and illnesses. She is responsible for covering practices and games, which includes travelling around the world with the team. She coordinates athletic trainer coverage for Junior National Field Hockey teams and liaises with the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency to ensure the team complies, and she works with the United States Olympic Committee.
“I am very fortunate to travel the globe with an amazing group of staff and athletes,” Uretsky said. “I enjoy the interaction of meeting new people and bringing fans to [field hockey] and meeting other medical professionals from the various countries we play.”
After the Olympics, Uretsky hopes to take vacation time to travel to countries she hasn’t seen, and then she plans to return to USA Field Hockey.
Today, while Uretsky can say she has met or exceeded many of the goals she set years ago, she knows the future is uncertain. She is preparing for the coming years with the attitude that she can still achieve success by taking one day at a time.