When you ask Taryn Christion, lead event specialist at the Sanford Pentagon, what Sanford Sports has done for him, he can tell you about an association that started when he was a teenager.
To this day, Christian, a 25-year-old former Sioux Falls Roosevelt athlete who rose to stardom as a quarterback at South Dakota State, remains grateful for the relationship that progressively provided him with expertise as he progressed as an athlete.
Log into the game: Personal and team fitness with Sanford Sports
“I’m very grateful for everything Sanford has done for me,” Christian said. “To go from Sanford helping me to being a part of an effort that helps other kids is great. All the experiences I have I can bring to our events team.”
Sanford Health’s sports-related facilities, programs and services were recently rebranded as Sanford Sports to better serve a growing base of athletes, families, sports fans and communities.
Individual training and recovery after injury
Within his time in the sport, Christian went from trying to be good enough to play for the varsity teams in high school to being good enough to play professionally. In that climb, he took advantage of what is now Sanford Sports, both as an athlete looking to get better at what he does and as an athlete trying to get back to full speed after injuries.
“My sophomore year in high school, I started doing one-on-one workouts with Curtis Riggs in the field house,” Christian said. “We worked on throwing, footwork and drills, anything that would make me a better athlete as a quarterback.”
Riggs is the coordinator of football programming at the Sanford Sports Academy, operating out of the Sanford Fieldhouse in Sioux Falls. At the time Christian got involved, the Sanford Sports football wing was in its infancy under Riggs, a former University of Sioux Falls quarterback who had coached the Sioux Falls Storm, Sioux Falls’ professional indoor football team, for nearly two decades.
The Unified Academy under Sanford’s leadership now includes opportunities to improve in seven different sports in addition to football. For Christian personally, though he started with a desire to get better at football, it quickly branched out into other areas of Sanford’s experience.
Connected: Sanford Sports brings together all the ways you play
Continued with Sanford Sports Performance (Sanford POWER at the time) staff working with Roosevelt Rough Riders athletes. It also included Sanford-certified athletic trainers helping Christian when he dislocated his foot and broke his fibula during his senior season. That injury ended his high school football career prematurely, but he was back to 100 percent before winter arrived.
“I started working with Sanford athletic trainer Scott Roggenbuck right after my surgery,” Christian said. “That was after I had surgery at Sanford. Working with Scott was great. He helped me get back to my normal self during basketball that year.”
From college to the pros
Christian transferred to SDSU, where Sanford’s sports medicine team is part of all of the Jackrabbits’ athletic programs. There, he was cared for well enough to set almost every significant quarterback-related record at the school.
This includes taking a sweat test when leg cramps become a problem. He also completed performance testing with the Sanford Sports staff. It came as he prepared for a pro career that included a series of NFL tryouts, most notably with the Dallas Cowboys and a stint with Ottawa in the Canadian Football League.
So where do you go when it’s time to start a career after professional football? For Christian, he had a pretty good idea.
When COVID-19 canceled the 2020 CFL season, Christian was working as a corporate associate at Sanford. As such, he was able to get a close look at Sanford’s operations on several levels. It gave him an idea of the scope of Sanford Sports, but also the distinctive level of commitment.
“I got to shadow Sanford Sports President Steve Young for a week and hear about his vision for the role of the sports complex,” Christian said. “I had an idea of how he wanted it to impact the community and the athletes and everyone else who would come to the sports complex.”
Now, when Christian participates in Sanford Sports staff meetings, the “they” is replaced by “we.” He is part of the team.
“It was great for me,” he said. “We want this place to be the place where kids of all ages, demographics and backgrounds can come and play sports, have fun — just be active. It’s pretty cool to see it happen.”
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