A desire to help others: Former DWU football player now an athletic trainer at Oakland University
Former DWU football player Cody Bonte has started working as an athletic trainer at Oakland University.
When Cody Bonte stands on the sidelines of sporting events, it’s different now.
The Garretson native is no longer lining up across wide receivers as a cornerback for Dakota Wesleyan University, where he recorded 96 tackles and seven interceptions. Instead, since June 17, he’s been pursuing his passion of helping others as an athletic trainer at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.
“I’ve been around athletics my entire life, playing sports back in high school and playing football at DWU,” Bonte said. “Seeing the athletic training side was interesting to me, and wanting to help people was also a big reason I got into athletic training.”
Bonte graduated with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from DWU in 2017. He went on to receive his Master’s in education this May while working as a graduate assistant athletic trainer for DWU’s baseball and soccer teams.
However, he knew he wanted to work for a Division-I program, which gravitated him toward Oakland. The quicker pace of a bigger city and traffic hasn’t bothered Bonte, who has enjoyed living by the Great Lakes since he “hates being indoors.”
Bonte works with the baseball and men’s soccer teams at Oakland, which competes in the Horizon League. He’ll teach a basic athletic training class during the fall semester, too.
“(Oakland) had a desire to put this program on a different track,” Bonte said. “And that kind of helped make my decision to come in here with expectations and standards to reach toward.”
Just like he did during his playing days, Bonte has used his experience as both an athlete and athletic trainer to his advantage.
“I think it made me a better player and athletic trainer, seeing how important that physical fitness and taking care of yourself go into being a player,” Bonte said. “And on the flip side, seeing it from an athletic trainer perspective and seeing what athletes go through and their mindset was a huge asset for me.”
Bonte added that working for a Division-I program compared to the NAIA isn’t “that much different.”
He’s still helping people, while building relationships with players and coaches, which has been his favorite part of the job.
“My desire to help people was a big reason why I got into athletic training,” Bonte said. “Being far away from home, I miss my family and friends, but it’s been a good experience for me to get away from that and branch out and get to know different people.”