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Rinehart finds career path, motivation from older sister


Every day after elementary school, Caitlynn Rinehart, senior goalkeeper, would wait to get picked up.

Other kids’ parents would drive by the bus circle and eventually find their child. But Rinehart wasn’t like every child. Instead, she would wait to be picked up by her oldest sister, Courtney Rinehart.

“I remember she always used to pick me up from elementary school in her soccer cleats,” Caitlynn Rinehart said. “I kind of always followed in her footsteps. That’s my biggest memory from elementary school.”

A 10-year age difference separates the girls, and like any younger sibling, Caitlynn Rinehart strived to be just like her sister.

As a sophomore in high school, Courtney Rinehart had the responsibility of picking up her little sister every day.

“I would come straight from soccer practice and pick her up from school,” Courtney Rinehart said. “I probably wasn’t supposed to have my cleats on, but probably did because I was rushing.”

After leaving the elementary school, the sisters often went to visit the dry cleaner, a family-owned business where both of their parents worked.

The busy schedule of running a business provided the Rinehart children with a unique opportunity for maturity.

“(Courtney) kind of kept me in check when I was younger,” Caitlynn Rinehart said. “She was basically my second mom growing up and she would get on to me.”

Courtney Rinehart is now a registered labor and delivery nurse in San Antonio.

Caitlynn Rinehart said the influence from her older sister inspired her decision to study respiratory care at Texas State.

“My sister played a really big role in me wanting to be in health care,” Caitlynn Rinehart said. “I always knew I wanted to be there because I truly love people. I have a passion for people and helping.”

Like her sister, Caitlynn Rinehart hopes to work with children, which could potentially set up an opportunity for the sisters to work with each other.

“I get to work with NICU (respiratory therapists) every day,” Courtney Rinehart said. “So it is very possible that one day we will get to work together and be in deliveries together, and that would make my day.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a special area of the hospital for newborn babies who require increased medical attention. Babies who are admitted to the NICU are commonly premature, sick or are underweight.

Caitlynn Rinehart initially wanted to be in the nursing program, but knew she faced challenges. She eventually developed a liking for the hands-on nature of respiratory care.

“At first I wanted to do nursing,” the athlete said. “But playing soccer, I couldn’t do the nursing program because the program is in Round Rock.”

As a registered nurse and former soccer player, Courtney Rinehart remains the biggest role model in her younger sister’s life.

“It is very heartwarming and touching to me,” Courtney Rinehart said. “It makes me feel very proud to be a nurse. And it makes me proud that (Caitlynn) wants to follow in my footsteps and be a part of the (obstetrics) world.”

Caitlynn Rinehart would agree that she learned a thing or two from her older sister—most importantly, how to be responsible and dependable.

As a goalkeeper, the team depends on Caitlynn Rinehart to play well, and the responsibility of organizing her defenders is something she relishes.

“I love it,” Caitlynn Rinehart said. “I feel like I thrive under pressure.”