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New athletic trainers join Southwest Health System staff

Mitch Taffe, Kevin Lichner and Lianne Shroba rehabilitating student athletes

The Southwest Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Department gained three new athletic trainers last week.

Their work concentrates on the prevention of student-athlete injuries, rehabilitation for injuries, emergency medical care and first aid.

“Athletic trainers have been an integral part of our Rehabilitation Department over the past 18 months. We are lucky to have skilled and motivated clinicians to work with our youth. Not only to treat injuries after they occur and get them back on the field but to prevent injuries before they happen... We are fortunate in a small community to offer this service to our schools,” rehabilitation director Brenton Wright said in a news release.

In the news release, each of the new athletic trainers discussed their practice and what they love about Cortez.

Mitch Taffe
Mitch Taffe, one of the new athletic directors at the Southwest Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Department.

Now working at Montezuma-Cortez High School, Taffe received his master’s degree in athletic training from Daemen College in Amherst, New York, and his bachelor’s in exercise science from University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“I enjoy the daily ebbs and flows of the job and solving patients’ problems,” he said in the news release. “I also like the daily challenges associated with training high-school athletes. Some days will seem calm but can quickly become overly eventful, and I remain ready to help in all situations.”

Taffe is inspired by the natural environments surrounding Cortez — canyons, desert, forest and high country, as well as the cozy feel of surrounding small towns.

Kevin Lichner
Kevin Lichner, one of the new athletic directors at the Southwest Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Department.

Lichner works at the Dolores and Mancos Middle and High Schools.

He attended University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where he received a bachelor’s degree in sport and exercise science.

“The most fulfilling aspect of my job is educating, motivating, and working with student-athletes,” he said in the news release. “I also enjoy working in this profession because of the constant learning and advancements in this field of practice.”

The appeal of outdoor activities like rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking drew Lichner to Cortez, as well as the “small-community feel.”

Lianne Shroba
Lianne Shroba, one of the new athletic directors at the Southwest Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Department.

Shroba works at Dove Creek Middle and High school.

She attended Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where she received a master’s degree in exercise science, as well as State University of New York College in Cortland, New York, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training.

“I’ve always wanted to work in a dynamic health care setting, and sports medicine offers the opportunity for problem-solving, creating effective change, and developing meaningful relationships with student-athletes, coaches, parents, and others in the community,” she said in the news release. “My goal is to provide student-athletes with the tools and treatments that allow them to perform to the best of their ability.”

Like the other athletic trainers, Shroba was attracted to the rich environment of Southwest Colorado, where’s she able to hike in the mountains and visit nearby national parks. She’s also enjoys “the diverse culture and strong community ties” here.

“SHS athletic trainers offer high-quality rehabilitative care to patients of all ages,” said Jeanette Filpi, Southwest Health System Interim CEO, in the news release. “As experts in rehabilitative techniques, they are committed to evaluating and treating issues associated with an array of injuries while also helping to educate patients on strengthening and injury prevention. We are so pleased to have them join our care team to serve our communities better.”

For more information, visit: www.swhealth.org/physicaltherapy