Chris Krause Special Contributors

Teamwork In College Sports and Beyond

chris krause and teamworking to his recovery

The following is a post by Chris Krause, our founder, who regularly contributes to the blog. Chris grew up playing football in North Chicago and went on to play at Vanderbilt. He founded NCSA Athletic Recruiting to make sure that ever student-athlete has the opportunity to find the right school to play their sport in college.

We’re always looking for new teammates who are passionate about helping student-athletes. You can search for opportunities here.

Just last week, I underwent a hip-resurfacing surgery and rehab program just outside of Madison, WI.

The time leading up to the surgery was difficult for me. I was in terrible pain for months – my right hip had no cartilage left, I was “bone-on-bone”. However, with a six and seven year-old at home, I think the emotional stress of my situation far out-weighted the physical stress. Was the surgery going to work? Was I going to be able to play soccer with my son again or helicopter my daughter? Would I ever walk the halls of NCSA the same? Would I be able to visit friends and family with ease and really make the most of my next fifty years?

I remembered the lessons of teamwork in college sports I had learned.

No matter your age, there are times you just need your Mom. I’m lucky to have one of the best around, and she flew in from Philly and made the trek from Chicago up to Madison with me. On our way to Wisconsin, we talked a lot about my Dad, who has underwent countless surgeries since his stroke over 25 years ago. We talked a lot about how great it will feel to wake up on the other side of it all. We talked a lot about faith.

I was ready to do the darn thing.

From arriving at the hospital for pre-op evaluations, to checking-into the rehab facility, to the day of surgery, and every day after in recovery, my care was nothing short of incredible. I was at a small-town hospital in Stoughton, Wisconsin, and was treated literally like family by my nurses and the staff there. There was never an unanswered question, and no request was too big or too small. The people that surrounded me there made the entire experience not only tolerable, but comfortable, uplifting, and empowering.

There was an in-room dining option on my hospital floor, meaning I could call and order from the hospital café and they would deliver my meal up to me. Once I was feeling well enough to eat after surgery, my Mom and I ordered some dinner to the room. A young lady in scrubs brought our food in about forty-five minutes later, and I went to give her a small tip to show our appreciation for the delivery, however, she wouldn’t accept. I insisted she take the three or four dollars, whatever it was, and again she denied me. She went on to tell my Mom and I,

“Working at this hospital, alongside the people I do, is all the payment I could ever need. This job is more fulfilling then any amount of money, and I really mean that. We’re a team here, and I am thankful everyday to be part of this place, and to help people like you.”

Being a patient in total debt to these amazing nurses and caretakers, and a business-owner always trying to better my own team back in Chicago, I asked her what made her job so special? She responded,

“It’s not a job. It’s a family, a community of friends and support. Last week, a girl in the kitchen had to leave early for an emergency, so the rest of the staff stayed late to clean the dishes. Our new custodian came in, saw everyone working in the kitchen, so he stayed and put worked in the kitchen to get the tasks done. There was laughing and chatting, it was fun. There was no complaining, no mention of our co-worker who had to leave, if it wasn’t expressing concern. To be around such happy, genuine, caring people everyday is more than a person could ever dream of. We’re a team, and we’re here to help one another provide the best care to our patients. This isn’t a job. It’s a gift.”

Being home and on the road to recovery now, I’m realizing I took a lot of things away from my surgery. It reinstated my belief that attitude is everything and your mind is a strong, strong force. You have to get it in the right place, especially when going through the hard stuff. I learned that the love of friends and family is irreplaceable, and it’s okay to lean on people. I learned that there are angels everywhere, just like the staff at Stoughton Hospital, and the young lady who I quoted above. Her message is something that I’ve thought a lot about since, and is something I want to pass along to my team of athleaders, and the student-athletes and families our network reaches.

In seriously serendipitous fashion, I saw this video waiting in my inbox as I sifted through emails in the days after my hip resurfacing.

What a great message: just like a college athletic team grinding through practices and drills, our job is to work toward that common goal. To appreciate the shared commitment to that goal we feel with all of our teammates. To cheer for and support each other, as college athletes and as professionals after college, as we reach for our goals.

The teamwork in college sports we learn translates into the professional world.

It’s been a week since I went under the knife, and I’m feeling better than ever. I’m looking forward to continuing to recover, and getting back to my team at NCSA, who have been my biggest cheerleaders and supporters, and after over fifteen years, have never made it feel like a job, only one of my biggest gifts.


Our scouts’ job is to help you reach your goal of playing in college. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.