June 2021 -- Across all sports, Edina High School boasts more than 190 state championships. This outstanding record is a testament to generations of talented and dedicated student-athletes. In every case, though, some credit is also due to the parents, coaches and support staff who are a constant presence behind the scenes and on the sidelines. Within that last category, Head Athletic Trainer/Equipment Coordinator Steve Tschida stands apart.
Tschida has been a mainstay with the Hornets for 27 years – and for fully half of those state-level championships. He joined Edina High School immediately after securing his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 1994.
“In order to be an athletic trainer, you must graduate from an accredited professional athletic training education program like this and pass a comprehensive test administered by a board of certification,” Tschida explained. His expertise in injury prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation is now put to use daily, and across more than 20 different sports.
Hornets athletes are the first to acknowledge Tschida’s encyclopedic knowledge of sports medicine. They are equally likely to praise him as a stalwart cheerleader and even confidante – innate traits that no sports medicine curriculum can instill.
“It's not unheard of that past student athletes will contact Tschida if they sustain an injury after high school,” explained EHS senior Lily Hendrikson. “The bond between a team and their athletic trainer is a special one.”
Tschida agrees wholeheartedly. “The most enjoyable part of my job continues to be establishing a respectful and trusting relationship with our student-athletes and coaches.”
He also appreciates the sheer breadth of his responsibilities as Head Athletic Trainer. In addition to high impact sports like football and hockey, where medical practitioners are a fairly visible presence, Tschida and his team provide services to 7-9 sports every season. These range from cross country to cheerleading in the fall, from gymnastics to Alpine skiing in the winter, and include everything from softball to synchronized swimming in the spring.
As if that were not enough, Tschida doubles as Equipment Coordinator across all EHS sports recognized by the Minnesota State High School League. “I work in collaboration with the athletic director and all participating coaches on each sport’s equipment, uniform and facility needs,” he explained.
This includes budgeting for and sourcing a variety of straightforward supplies – think tennis balls, hockey pucks and golf tees by the gross. However, he also plays a hand in the identification and acquisition of specific helmets, padding and other gear best rated to keep young athletes safe.
Lily Hendrikson, who plays Varsity hockey, commends Tschida’s safety mindset and preparedness. “He empowers students to do their sport safely, [in part by] working with coaches across every sport to ensure we’re learning and playing in the best environment possible.”
“I know that next year, when I’m playing college hockey, I will have Steve’s number on speed dial for when I’m in need of some advice … medical and otherwise,” she added.
In gratitude for Tschida’s commitment to Edina High School’s hundreds of student athletes, Hendrikson nominated him for the Edina Community Foundation’s annual Connecting With Kids Leadership Award. In early April, the Foundation named him one of eight 2021 recipients.
As the name suggests, the Connecting With Kids honor is bestowed in recognition of some demonstrable “impact on Edina youth.” For Tschida and his decades-long track record, this is not just true – it’s something of an understatement.