Athletic trainer CJ Strawser is motivated to expand his FHC footprint by his experience as a Ranger and devotion to athletics

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This is something that I am excited about and want to surround myself with—people that want to grow and get better just like me.”

— CJ Strawser

When head athletic trainer CJ Strawser is sauntering the grounds of FHC on a mission to make every athlete and coach’s life easier, he indefinitely has a smile on his face. 

Strawser flashes a grin that is representative of his pride in giving back to a community that has given so much to him. Cherished by every member of the Ranger community, the 2016 FHC graduate keeps fueling his burning desire to make an impact on his alma mater’s student-athletes. 

“I mean, it’s home; it’s where I grew up. It’s a community that gave a lot to me, and I always thought it would be really cool to come back and give back,” Strawser said. “Having been here, I know a lot of the things that kids can be dealing with. Knowing the ins and outs has really been helpful and was a lot of the motivation for me coming back here.”

Now posted up in the training room, Strawser has witnessed both sides of high school athletics. Back in his playing days, though, CJ truly gave his all to the school. A 3-year wrestling career not only showcases his inner toughness and fighting spirit but also demonstrates his iron-sharp mentality and determination. However, it was the game of soccer that became Strawser’s mojo and lifestyle. 

CJ’s athletic, sneaky-quick build allowed him to enjoy the spotlight in the FHC soccer program. As an area-renowned player, the opportunity to play at the next level was quick to present itself. Following a successful tenure for the Rangers, Strawser headed off to Marion, Indiana to play at the highly-respected Indiana Wesleyan University. A four-year college career displayed his exceptional versatility and talent. 

“College offered me the chance to focus on my sport, but to also study athletic training. To me, that’s what got me here,” Strawser admitted. 

His adoration for the game was a major reason for becoming a trainer but did not make up every piece of the pie. Instead of pushing through the struggles that come with athletics at the high school level, CJ uses them as a way to further his experience and connect with current student-athletes. 

“My job is a tool to getting the opportunity to spend time with kids, to love them and be there, whatever circumstances they’re going through,” Strawser said. “If I can do that, then I have done my job in my own way, just a different way.”

Throughout his path, Strawser has had a tremendous impact on people, most specifically his sister Elisha. As a member of the 2021 graduating class, Elisha also played soccer at an extremely high standard for FHC; she was a crucial part of last year’s team that reached the state semifinals. Elisha has decided to follow in her brother’s footsteps at the collegiate level, taking her talents to Indiana Wesleyan as well. 

“My brother has always been there for me whenever I need him. He has gone through a lot of the same things that I have,” Elisha said. “He is a kind, genuine guy that anyone can look up to; I love that the most about him. CJ is one of the most hard-working people I have ever met and is so inspiring.”

Additionally, Elisha plans to model her career path after her big brother.

“My family, as well as CJ, have all gone into coaching and health, so I never thought twice about anything else,” she said. “I am so blessed to be able to go to the same college and follow by his example. 

To no surprise, CJ’s influence on others has provided him with a chance to make the kind of difference that he wishes to make. Forest Hills Central High School has always stood as his stomping grounds; returning home has rendered a feeling that sets his past experiences apart.

“One thing that I really like about being here is being a part of a program that wants to succeed, get better, and is willing to take the steps to do so,” Strawser said. “The other places that I’ve been haven’t necessarily had that.”

It seems to have come full circle for CJ Strawser. Once running around everybody on the soccer field to now icing down wounds in the training room, his journey is one that should be appreciated by all members of the Ranger community. 

“It’s something that I am excited about and want to surround myself with—people that want to grow and get better just like me.”