For many people who are passionate about sports, becoming a professional athlete is the ultimate way to turn this passion into a career. But, for most people, this dream will never become a reality. According to the NCAA, less than 2% of its student athletes will go on to play professional sports.
This does not mean that a career in sports is impossible. There are many careers that offer people who are not professional athletes the chance to live out their dream.
For Tyler Cundith, being the college’s sports information director gives him an opportunity to do something he is passionate about every single day. As the sports information director, Cundith is tasked with handling all publicity involving the Athletic Department.
“I’ve always had a love for sports,” said Cundith. “I just didn’t have the talent or the height to be a collegiate athlete.”
Cundith got his start at the University of Kansas (KU) as a communications major. He worked in sports information there, and then went on to get a master’s degree in Sports Administration at Wichita State.
After working for the Kansas City Chiefs and as the Public Relations Director for the Kansas City Attack, an indoor soccer team, Cundith settled in at the college, where he has worked for 28 years.
Ben Edwinson, associate athletic trainer, also enjoys being involved with sports every day.
Edwinson went to KU as a history major but, after one day of classes, realized that he wanted to do something else. He had friends who were studying sports medicine and he decided to give it a shot.
Edwinson says being an athletic trainer requires much more than just medical knowledge. A lot of his work involves communicating with coaches, players and administration.
“You have to be personable,” said Edwinson. “You have to be able to get along with lots of different types of people.”
Cundith said that, although technology and social media have changed the nature of the industry, working with student-athletes is still his focus.
“I love working with the kids,” said Cundith. “It’s just fun to see them when they do succeed and if they do move on to the next level.”
Edwinson has a similar outlook. Being an athletic trainer is not always an easy job, but it is something he loves doing because of the student-athletes. All the hard work pays off on game day, as Edwinson describes as being the best part of the job.
“You might get the same answer from most athletic trainers, but seeing someone go from being hurt, not being able to play, to working them back into the game over whatever timeframe you’re looking at,” said Edwinson.
For students who are interested in a career in sports that doesn’t involve playing, Cundith recommends being proactive and seeking out opportunities.
Cundith said, “Don’t be afraid to go to the school that you’re at and ask if there’s something you can do and get your foot in the door.”