The NHL is celebrating women in hockey, and every week this season, NHL.com will highlight a woman from each of the 32 teams. Today, a look at Minnesota Wild team neuropsychologist Sonia Coelho Mosch:
Name: Sonia Coelho Mosch
Job title: Team neuropsychologist
Education: PhD in Clinical Psychology from U of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Predoctoral Internship at Minneapolis VA Medical Center; Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology at U of Iowa, Iowa City
Years of hockey experience: 11 years with the Wild as team neuropsychologist (2012 to current); 12 years of being a hockey mom while my 19-year-old son was growing up (and I led pregame mental training for two seasons with his squirt and peewee teams before every game).
Describe your job in 2-3 sentences
My job is to help ensure the brain health of the guys on our team. I work with the team physicians to implement the NHL concussion protocol, which includes testing players preseason and then after concussions. I test them to see if it looks like they have recovered (with their brain skills) so that they can keep progressing and return to play. I also work with NHL players who want to talk to a psychologist about stress, job performance, sleep, and other life issues that might be affecting them. I LOVE helping athletes get more resilient!
What was the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
I wanted to be an architect when I was in elementary school! I made my parents buy me magazines with house plans. I also really liked interior design and fashion design. I had a sketch book where I drew house plans and also designed outfits and gave my characters names, like “Terry-cloth Terri.” (It was the 80’s!).
What was your first-ever job, and did it prepare you for the work you do today?
My first paid job was as an assistant dance teacher at 16. I taught little kids at the dance studio where I basically spent every day and developed a “second family” with my dance teacher, dance friends, etc. Being an assistant dance teacher and being in a competitive dance environment from the time I was 5 through high school definitely prepared me for my work today. I learned a lot about work ethic, team cohesion, and leadership. In college I was an NFL cheerleader and again it was good preparation for working hard under a lot of expectations and pressure.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
“Only do what only you can do. Delegate the rest.” – Brigadier General (Ret.) Steven Salazar, 360 Resilience Program for Military Leaders
What career advice can you give others?
Think about what you were doing when you last felt most alive and fulfilled. Whatever that is, that is your passion. If you find a way to get paid for it, you’ll feel like you’re doing what you are meant to do.
What is a quality you admire most in others (personal or professional)?
What motivates you to keep pushing and be successful?
My athletes and my patients. I know I’m doing is what I’m meant to do when I feel like I’ve truly helped someone heal. There is no better feeling in the world.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date?
Raising a kind, empathic human. My son is pretty cool and I hope he wants to hang out with me when I’m old.
What do you love most about your job?
I love helping people with their brain concerns, whether it’s my NHL guys or my clinic patients. When they get some answers and can move forward, that is very gratifying. I also love doing therapy with my athletes and witnessing the “a-ha” moments when they figure out important stuff and are even closer to being the best version of themselves.
If you weren’t working in hockey, what would you be doing?
Probably something creative like architecture or interior design.
How would your closest friends describe you?
Energetic, positive, a little loud, not a strong swimmer, and super fun at parties.
What are you most proud of?
I am really proud to be an Indian American woman working in a male dominated field like hockey, or sports medicine in general. It’s so much fun! I didn’t grow up knowing anything about hockey, being a first-generation immigrant (my Indian parents sort of fit the stereotype of being really into our grades as kids!). I didn’t realize how fun and cerebral hockey was until I started to understand it by watching my son play, and I am so proud now to be a minority woman working in the NHL.
What is your next goal or what do you want to accomplish next?
Resilience, especially in high performers like elite athletes or military leaders, is my passion. I do consulting work with the military in a program called 360 Resilience, and I am writing a book to teach people resilience-building strategies that anyone can implement. I plan to illustrate each strategy with real life case studies from my soldiers, athletes, and patients (with their permission of course) and other resilient people in my life, like my nephew who beat cancer TWICE!
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
What’s your favorite book?
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
One thing you can’t live without:
My son, caffeine, and Bob. I realize I listed 3, sorry!
Do you collect anything?
Kittens. Dogs. Other furry babies.
What is your hobby outside of work?