Hailing from Winsloe, P.E.I., multisport varsity athlete Kristyn Visser, a fourth-year psychology major at Mount Allison, will graduate with an accomplished athletic career under her belt.
Visser has been an anchor for the Mounties women’s soccer team as a centre-back since her first year. She receives no respite in the winter months, however – when not directing traffic on the soccer field, she is smashing birdies on the badminton court. Visser is a naturalborn athlete; her soccer career began at the age of three with support from her parents, both of whom used to play. Visser maintained her love for sport throughout high school. She participated in a wide range of activities which included soccer, track and field, badminton and cross country. However, it was not always the most conventional of sports in which Visser excelled: She received recognition in Atlantic Canada for her impressive skills in speed skating.
The path to being a full-time student athlete has not been an easy one for Visser. In 2009, she suffered a severe injury which almost placed her entire career in jeopardy. During preparation for the Canada games, Visser sustained a speed skating accident in which she severed her sciatic nerve. As a result, Visser has limited vertical mobility in her foot. The injury forced Visser out of competitive skating; however, a combination of good fortune in addition to Visser’s resilience allowed her to continue excelling in soccer and badminton.
Initially, Visser began to play badminton as a cross-training method to remain active during the soccer off-season. Previously, soccer had been her preferred sport, but during her tenure at Mt. A, her love of badminton blossomed and it’s now her primary sport.
Visser is quick to note her fondness for the Mt. A and Sackville community: “Sackville in general is such a tight-knit community. It is so welcoming.” Visser also refers to that closeness when talking about her teammates, both in soccer and badminton. “Even though it is an individual sport, the badminton team is really close,” as is the soccer team, said Visser. “You know that if you are having an off day, there are 10 other players all working together to cover for you.” These close bonds make the rigours and challenges of being a student athlete worthwhile for Visser. Balancing academics and athletic responsibilities is difficult for any onesport student athlete. For Visser, the challenge is doubled. “Soccer is hard to balance, because practice is four times a week and we play two games a week. On game day, we have to get to the field early, play, and then watch the boys’ team,” said Visser. “Three weeks overlap between badminton and soccer season, which sometimes requires training for four hours a day.” The high standards Visser has set for herself have paid off. After graduation, Visser will give her body a well-deserved rest and utilize her psychology degree by embarking on a career as an occupational therapist.