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Athletic trainers

Denise Yoder

Denise Yoder was named the head athletic trainer at Augustana in December 2012. Yoder, who had been the associate athletic trainer at Augustana since 1997, replaced Rochel Rittgers, who resigned in November after serving 28 years in the head position. Yoder is just the third head athletic trainer in Augustana history, succeeding Amy Packer (1983-85) and Rittgers (1985-2012).

Yoder, a native of Geneseo, Illinois, is a 1989 graduate of Augustana with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology with an emphasis on athletic training. She was also a member of the Vikings’ track & field team as an undergraduate. She received her Master’s of Science in physical education/athletic training at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 1991.

Yoder will be in charge of Augustana’s athletic training department which provides service to 23 varsity sports with over 700 NCAA athletes. Prior to being named the head athletic trainer, she was the in-charge trainer for men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, wrestling and softball. She has also been a ski patrol volunteer at Snowstar Winter Park in Andalusia, Illinois.

She has worked with all levels of athletes from high school to professional in many different settings. She spent two years as the head athletic trainer at Phoenix Union High School in Phoenix, Arizona. She then served as the head athletic trainer in her hometown of Geneseo, Illinois before returning to Augustana in 1997.

Yoder is very active in the local theatre community and serves on the board of the Genesius Guild and is the public relations coordinator for the Prenzie Players.

She earned her certification from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in January 1990 and has been licensed in the state of Illinois since 1994. She is a member of the NATA, the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ and the Illinois Athletic Trainers’ Association. She is also a member of the National Ski Patrol and for over 20 years has been a certified instructor for the Red Cross in CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer.

Anna Smith

Anna Smith has been a member of the Augustana athletic department as an assistant athletic trainer since 2007. Her charge sports are men’s and women’s tennis in the fall, volleyball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball and golf.

She came to Augustana after completing work on her master’s degree in athletic training at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where she completed a research project entitled The Effects of Four Different Landing Techniques on Ground Reaction Forces and Joint Kinematics. She received her bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Weber State University in 2006 in Ogden, Utah, where she worked in the athletic department covering men’s basketball, track & field, football, women’s soccer, tennis and cheerleading.

A native of Lancaster, Ohio, Smith is a member of several athletic trainers’ associations and she served as the in-charge athletic trainer at Miller High School new Athens, Ohio, during the 2006-07 school year.

Lori Anderson

Lori Anderson joined the sports medicine staff at Augustana in August 2011 and currently works with the football, men's and women's cross country, and men's and women's lacrosse. Previously, she completed her master's degree at Western Illinois University in recreation, park and tourism administration. While at WIU, she worked as a graduate assistant with the women's volleyball team and the cheerleading squad. In 2009, Anderson spent one season working as a graduate assistant with the football team at Arkansas State University.

She graduated from the University of Iowa in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in athletic training and was certified as an athletic trainer in June of 2008. Before continuing her education, Lori worked for Rock Valley Physical Therapy, outreaching to the Moline High School during the 2008-2009 academic year.

Anderson is originally from Annawan, Ill., and currently resides in Moline, Ill., with her husband Bob.

Kelli Polizzi

Kelly Polizzi was named an assistant athletic trainer at Augustana in March 2013.  Polizzi is a 2006 graduate of Culver-Stockton University where she received her bachelor’s of science degree in athletic training. She then received her master’s of science in education at Central Methodist University in 2008.

Working in both a school setting and the public sector, Polizzi brings a wealth of experience to Augustana. She began her career in athletic training at Culver-Stockton, where she worked as an athletic training student assistant. She then began her master’s program at Central Methodist, and worked as a graduate athletic training assistant. Post-graduation, Polizzi acquired a job as an assistant athletic trainer at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. She spent three years at Benedictine before acquiring a position as an assistant athletic trainer at Utah Valley University.

In 2012, Polizzi began her career in the public sector. Her first job was as a physical therapist aide and PRN athletic trainer at Progressive Rehabilitation Associates in Iowa City, Iowa. She was charged with assisting with patient care and covering local high school sporting events. In addition to her job at Progressive Rehabilitation Associates, Polizzi also worked as a PRN athletic trainer at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she in charge of providing athletic training assistance at area high schools and colleges, as well as assessment and evaluation of athletic injuries.