When you ask Sanford Pentagon Senior Events Specialist Taryn Christion what Sanford Sports has done for him, he can tell you about an association that began when he was a teenager.

To this day, Christion, a 25-year-old former Sioux Falls Roosevelt athlete who rose to fame as a South Dakota State quarterback, remains grateful for a connection that gradually provided expertise as he was progressing as an athlete.

Enter the game: Personal and Team Fitness with Sanford Sports

“I’m so thankful for everything Sanford has done for me,” Christion said. “Leaving Sanford to help me be part of an effort that helps other kids is great. I can bring all the experiences I’ve had to our event team.

Recently, Sanford Health sports facilities, programs and services were renamed Sanford Sports to better serve a growing base of athletes, families, sports fans and communities.

Individual training and injury recovery

During his own time in the sport, Christion went from trying to be good enough to play for high school varsity teams to good enough to play professionally. In this ascent he benefited from what is now Sanford Sports both as an athlete looking to improve at what he does and as an athlete trying to come back to full speed after injuries.

“My sophomore year of high school, I started doing individual workouts with Kurtiss Riggs at the fieldhouse,” Christion said. “We worked on throwing, footwork and drills – everything that was going to make me a better athlete as a quarterback.”

Riggs is the Football Programming Coordinator at Sanford Sports Academy, operating out of Sanford Fieldhouse in Sioux Falls. At the time Christion got involved, the football wing of Sanford Sports was in its infancy under Riggs, a former University of Sioux Falls quarterback who coached the Sioux Falls Storm, the professional team of Sioux Falls indoor football, 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 Christion personally, although he started out wanting to improve at football, he soon branched out into other areas of Sanford’s expertise.

Related: Sanford Sports unifies all the ways you play

This continued with staff from Sanford Sports Performance (Sanford POWER at the time) working with Roosevelt Rough Riders athletes. It also included certified Sanford athletic trainers helping Christion when he dislocated his foot and broke his fibula during his senior season. This injury ended his high school football career prematurely, but he was back 100% before winter arrived.

“I started working with Sanford athletic trainer Scott Roggenbuck right after my surgery,” Christion said. “It was after my surgery at Sanford. Working with Scott was great. He helped me get back to my normal self during basketball that year.

From college to pros

Christion moved on to SDSU, where Sanford’s sports medicine team is part of all Jackrabbits sports programs. He was groomed enough there to set just about every major record associated with school quarterbacks.

This included a sweat test when leg cramps became a problem. He also performed performance testing with staff at Sanford Sports. It took place as he prepared for a professional career that included a series of NFL trials, including 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 Christion, he had a pretty good idea.

When COVID-19 canceled the 2020 CFL season, Christion was a corporate member with Sanford. As such, he has taken a close look at Sanford’s operations on many levels. It gave him insight into the reach of Sanford Sports, but also the distinctive level of commitment.

“I was able to follow Sanford Sports President Steve Young for a week and hear about his vision for the role of the sports venue,” Christion said. “I have an idea of ​​the impact he wants this to have on the community, the athletes and everyone else who would come to the sports complex.”

Now, when Christion attends Sanford Sports staff meetings, the “they” is replaced with “we”. He is part of the team.

“It’s been great for me,” he said. “We want this place to be a place where kids of all ages, demographics, and backgrounds can come play sports, have fun—just be active. It’s very cool to see this happen.

Learn more

Posted in Orthopedics, Sanford Sports, Sanford Stories, Sioux Falls, Sports Medicine