Episode #107-Kirsten Cooper- Sport Psychology Consultant/Ex-US Ski Team Member
She learned how to ski on the east coast and would take trips to Colorado for ski vacations. After skiing with billy Kidd in Steamboat Springs, CO, She announced to her mother she would be an Olympic ski racer. She began her racing career in Santa Fe, NM and then moved to Colorado at 15 to pursue higher levels of competition. She was named to the US Ski Team in 2006, but had a very bad accident resulting in a severe head injury in 2007 and struggled to return to high performance after that.
After struggling on the international stage for four seasons, She decided to pursue academics at the University of Colorado and skied for their Division 1 ski team for the 2010-2011 season. They won an NCAA Division 1 national championship in 2011 and then her body was so torn up, she decided to give up two more years of eligibility and retired from ski racing altogether at age 23. She spent two years coaching before she met two performance psychology consultants on the hill who were working with the USA Paralympic ski team. After a great conversation that ignited a passion in her, she applied to DU's MA in Sport and Performance Psychology and was accepted where the two Paralympic sport psychology consultants became her faculty and mentors.
She is currently pursuing a PsyD in Clinical Psychology and has spent her time on her doctorate working with severe persistent mental illnesses and in a college counseling center. She will ultimately come back to performance psychology in her career as there is where heart lies with athletic identity development, athletic injuries, transitions out of sports, LGBTQ athletes, and public policy and advocacy.