Soccer injury leads to new career path

By Alexa Ganzeveld ’22

Wartburg helped biochemistry major Tanner Shields ’22 find his path and gain the resources he needed to prepare him for a career in medicine.

During his freshman year of college, Shields, who was majoring in engineering science, tore his ACL playing soccer. After going home to The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado, he developed a strong relationship with his physician and was invited back the next summer to participate in a job shadow and do research.

“My job was to do the preliminary research on a systematic review that is featuring comparing Latarjet surgeries (used to restore stability in the shoulder) in the United States with other surgery techniques around the world.It gave me a lot of good research knowledge and experience in techniques. I also got to shadow and watch some orthopedic procedures and then follow that particular physician in clinic,” said Shields.

This experience also gave him the tools to succeed in the classroom and discover his career path. After Wartburg, Shields hopes to attend the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine and then become a doctor in the Navy.

“I was originally drawn to Wartburg through soccer. My club coach in Grand Junction played here at Wartburg and was an assistant coach before joining our club team. He was the first person who introduced me to Wartburg, and he took us to a tournament in Kansas City where I first got recruited. When I took a visit at the beginning of my senior year I really fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere here,” Shields said.

Tanner Shields

In addition to playing soccer, Shields is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Phi Eta Sigma, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Dance Marathon, as well as works as a supplemental instructor.

“Take advantage of every opportunity that is offered and keep an open mind, because there will be a lot of cool opportunities that you have no idea will have a positive impact on you and your future,” Shields said. “The overall community atmosphere at Wartburg is really special. The general positivity, the willingness to serve others and help people on their journey is something that fosters success in students and athletes, and I think it’s given me all the tools that I need to be able to carry that on in my future.”