Meet the Team

Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS

Program Manager/Head Athletic Trainer

[email protected]Stuart Schmidt, ATC for The Center Foundation

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Stuart attended Oregon State University for his undergraduate degree, earning a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Science with an option in Athletic Training. After graduating from Oregon State University, he worked as the Athletic Training Fellow at The Center and The Center Foundation where he divided his time between working in the cast room and as the Athletic Trainer at Sisters High School.

Stuart left Bend to attend graduate school at The University of Florida where he received his Master of Science in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology. During his time at UF he served as the Head Athletic Trainer at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. Stuart spent the next six years as an Assistant and later Head Athletic Trainer at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Coming full circle, Stuart returned to Central Oregon as the Athletic Trainer Supervisor for The Center Foundation. He is excited to contribute to the excellent care and services we provide to the local community and to support our Athletic Training team.

Gavin Thiele, MEd, ATC

Bend High School Athletic Trainer

[email protected]

Gavin Thiele was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After high school, he left his hometown to attend Purdue University. Gavin enjoyed his time at Purdue and the unique opportunities available to him. In fact, one of his favorite experiences was working as the student intern athletic trainer for the Buffalo Bills.

In 2012, Gavin completed his bachelor’s degree and headed west. He accepted the position of Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer for Arizona State University. While working as a graduate assistant, he studied for his Master’s Degree in Higher and Post-Secondary Education and Administration. His time at ASU included working with the ASU wrestling team, as well as the freestyle Olympic wrestling teams.

After receiving his master’s degree, Gavin returned to his hometown and spent the next five years as a high school athletic trainer. In addition, he acted as preceptor for both high school athletes and local college students. Through all of his experiences, Gavin feels that returning an athlete to play is the best part of his work.

Gavin is thrilled to work for the Center Foundation, and serve the students at Bend Senior High School.

Brett Elder MS, LAT, ATC

La Pine High School Athletic Trainer

[email protected]

Brett Elder was born and raised in Cloverdale, Oregon. After high school, he left his hometown to attend Concordia University in Portland. Brett enjoyed his time at Concordia as a student-athlete and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science. While completing his bachelor’s degree, he got to work with the Athletic Trainers and discovered that was his calling.

In 2020, Brett graduated and took off to the South to start his master’s degree at the University of South Carolina. During his master’s program, he had worked with many patients including South Carolina’s Football and Track and Field teams, and a small high school. He also spent his last semester with the University of Nevada-Reno’s Women’s Basketball, Soccer, and Baseball teams.

After receiving his Masters of Science in Athletic Training, Brett returned to Oregon and spent the last year as an intern Athletic Trainer with Oregon State Football. After a great experience at Oregon State, Brett decided he wanted a different challenge and came to The Center looking for that.

When away from work, Brett enjoys playing sports, hiking, swimming, skiing, and lifting. He is excited to get to work with The Center and La Pine High School.

Tasji Huffman MATRN, ATC

Madras High School Athletic Trainer

[email protected]

Tasji Huffman was born and raised in NE Washington in a small town called Colville. She attended Spokane Community College where she played two years of softball and received her Associates Degree. Next, Tasji went to Central Washington University and earned her bachelors in Exercise Science. Finally, she attended Oregon State University and received her Masters of Athletic Training.

During the summers Tasji enjoyed working as a wildland firefighter for 5 years in Washington and 1 year in Oregon. While working towards her undergraduate and graduate degrees, Tasji was able to work with various sports and ages of athletes, and spent the final year working with the OSU XC/ Track and Field team. Getting to work with all kinds of athletes is something inspires her as an athletic trainer, and the fact that no two days are the same. She truly enjoy the variety of work where every day, injury, or treatment is a challenge and an opportunity to continue to learn and grow in the field.

Outside of athletic training, Tasji likes to hike, fish, and play recreational sports, and she is looking forward to exploring the outdoors of Central Oregon and what it has to offer.

Katie Nizinski ATC

Mountain View High School Athletic Trainer

[email protected]

Katie is Oregonian born and Washington raised, Pacific Northwest Native. She attended George Fox University and completed her bachelors degree in Athletic Training. She had opportunities to intern at Nike, OHSU, and with local rodeos in the PRB/ PRCA gold circuts. Katie graduated from A.T. Still University with her Masters in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Psychology.

Following graduation, Katie worked with a variety of athletes. She spent summers at NBC Summer camps, between working for the  Corban Warriors collegiate sports teams. She transitioned to working with outreach athletic training opportunities through local clinics, and most recently was an Assistant Athletic Trainer at Pacific University working primarily with the men’s soccer, baseball, and track teams.

Katie’s husband, Nick is from Central Oregon, an alum of Mountain View High School and both decided to make Central Oregon their home after getting married this spring!

When Katie is not working with athletes, she can be found at Smith Rock hiking Misery Ridge, running around Bend, sipping a latte in a local coffee shop, or trying a new recipe at home as an avid cook.  She is stoked to be working for the Center Foundation and the student-athletes of Central Oregon and Mountain View High School.

Alex Walker, ATC

Sisters High School Athletic Trainer

Alex Walker ATC for The Center Foundation[email protected]

Alex Walker was born and raised in South Pasadena, California. She began her studies at Oregon State University in 2010 and the Athletic Training Education program in 2012.

During her time at Oregon State she worked with West Albany High School, Oregon State Gymnastics, and Western Oregon University. After her experience at West Albany High School, it became clear to Alex that she wanted to work at a high school in the future. In 2015, she graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and moved to Bend, accepting a job with The Center Foundation as the athletic trainer for Sisters High School. Alex’s favorite part about her job is being able to work with her athletes in such a caring, supportive, and tight-knit community.

During her free time, she enjoys Central Oregon activities, as well as photography and traveling. Recently, she went skydiving for the first time and is looking forward to new adventures.

Austin Michalski, ATC

Summit High School Athletic Trainer

[email protected]

Austin was born in Oregon and raised in Bend.  After graduating from Summit High School, he attended Oregon State University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training.  While at OSU, he worked with the wrestling and football teams, as well as the athletes at Corvallis High School. After his time at OSU, Austin moved to Seattle where he worked for Boeing overseeing the continued physical health of the mechanics who built 777 airplanes.

Austin returned to Bend in 2020 where he found great enjoyment working in the same gyms and fields where he himself had previously competed. In the summers, he’s employed as a wildland firefighter where he has traveled and fought fire in almost every state west of the Rocky Mountains.  He also runs a small portable saw milling business with his father, doing custom milling and woodworking.

Austin’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, playing guitar, backpacking, and all other outdoor activities beautiful Central Oregon has to offer.

High School Team Physicians

The following doctors donate their time and expertise to support young athletes. They volunteer hundreds of hours each year and work closely with their team’s athletic trainer to ensure injuries are diagnosed and treated properly. All other Center physicians also attend sporting events throughout Deschutes County to provide additional medical support for young athletes.

Dr. Tim Bollom

Summit & Sisters High Schools

Dr. Katya Urch

Bend & Crook County High Schools

Dr. Tony Hinz

La Pine High School

Dr. Matt Lilley

Madras & Mountain View High Schools

Did You Know?

Students at more than 1400 high school sporting events are protected by our athletic trainers each year.