Long-time BYU athletic trainer behind athletes’ success

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Playing college sports is a rare privilege — one that comes with the risk of serious injury.

Not many people realize the responsibility that falls on the athletic trainers to keep those athletes playing their best every day.

BYU trainer Chris Linde has been working for the school’s athletic department since 1990. Her connection to the Cougars, however, extends back nearly four decades.

Before she started working, Linde was a student at BYU. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1980 and a master’s degree in athletic training in 1982.

She took athletic training jobs all over the U.S. before coming back to BYU eight years later.

The training room is where the most important part of Linde’s job is performed. Her entire day is scheduled around athletes’ treatments and doctors’ appointments. Almost every one of her players has training needs before or after practice.

She will bounce between training tables to make sure everyone is taken care of. Some athletes enjoy getting taken care of, while others just want to go to practice.

“The idea that you have to do pre-hab (treatment to prevent injuries) before every practice and game isn’t a lot of athletes’ favorite thing,” Linde said. “But they always thank me for it later when they become seniors without injuries or come back from an injury much faster because of it.”

She always tells her athletes, “prehab is better than rehab.”

BYU’s Director of Sports Medicine Carolyn Billings has worked with Linde since she arrived in Provo. “Chris has a huge heart,” Billings said. “She loves the kids and gives them everything they need and is fully invested. She’s passionate and serious about her job, but can have fun with her athletes. She also helps them with all their ups and downs on and off the field.”

Athletes who have worked with Linde, also known as Chrisser, love and appreciate the hard work she puts into keeping them injury free.

“Without Chrisser, I would not be where I am today,” said Libby Sugg, a BYU softball player. “She helped me stay healthy for softball, but also just made me a better person. Her influence on me will stay with me forever.”

Linde has worked with many different people in the athletics department.

“The athletes are what make it worth it,” she said. “I have made many lifelong friends from the athletes I’ve worked with here at BYU.”

One of those is former volleyball player Jackie Bundy Wagnon who said Linde was like a second mother to her.

“She always had a listening ear and wanted to help in whatever way she could.  She listened, gave advice, laughed with me, cried with me and always helped me find a solution to whatever problem I was facing at the time,” Wagnon said. “She always had a way of putting my concerns or problems to rest so I could put my focus on the court.”

At BYU, Linde has worked with men’s and women’s tennis, football, softball, women’s golf and cheerleading. She worked with women’s volleyball for 12 years, including a Final Four appearance, and men’s volleyball for five years, which included two national championships.

She worked with softball for 18 years, including 13 NCAA tournament appearances. She also worked for several years with the football, cheer, tennis and women’s golf teams.

One previous volleyball coach, in particular, has become Linde’s lifelong friend.

“I have heard many people comment on how they wish they had a ‘Chris’ around,” said Stephanie Trane Brinton. “Everyone should. She just makes life easier – helping, listening, caring. She was a true example of how to serve others.  She still puts in a lot of hours helping me and my family.”

Many people feel this way about Linde. Through her unmatched work ethic, she has kept many athletes healthy and made a lasting impact in their lives in and out of the sport.  She shows genuine interest in those she helps, which makes her a great trainer and an even better friend.

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