Sierra Mansfield

Sierra Mansfield (BS ’16) Movement Science

Basketball, volleyball, soccer, track… From the fourth grade on, Sierra Mansfield was active in team sports. But all that ended in the tenth grade, when a progressive joint disorder forced her onto the sidelines permanently.
So what does a natural-born athlete do when she can’t compete? In Sierra’s case, she began working with the high school athletic trainer. “I went to every game, and the AD taught me taping techniques,” she says. “Soon, I was grabbing ice bags and helping out with all the teams. It felt good, getting close to sports again without exacerbating my problem.”

When it came time to choose a university, Sierra knew exactly what she wanted: a school with a big sports program and a strong athletic tradition. During a campus visit, it became clear that school was Michigan. “Everyone was so friendly and helpful,” she says. “They made a place for me to belong.”

Sierra still recalls how wonderful it was to read the letter announcing her Georgia A. Woodson Scholarship. “It was very personal,” she recalls. “They could have chosen any number of other kids from California, but they chose me. I felt humbled and honored, being singled out for that recognition. It made me think, yes, this is where I’m supposed to be.”
Right now, Sierra is deciding between a career in physical therapy and prosthetics research. The important thing, she says, is doing something meaningful. As she notes, “It all goes back to that athletic trainer who showed me I could help others and, despite my physical problems, make someone else feel whole again.”