From the point of view of an injured athlete:

The sudden stiffness of my knee has never been to the degree that it was on that day. 10 minutes. 10 minutes was all I needed to avoid being hurt until the end of practice would come and I would be able to stretch out and head home to a shower and a meal. It was an average play, one that would happen multiple times every practice on any given day. I’m no statistician by any means, but I know the possibility of the ball hitting me in that exact spot in my knee that day was extremely slim. I went to block a shot, with my left foot raised and my right foot planted in the turf. There was only one spot where I could’ve been injured, and it was the upper half of my right knee. It not only had to be hit in that exact spot, but it had to have been hit hard. The ball did just that and my knee twisted inside and I took one step and collapsed to the ground. I had never had a body part be almost entirely paralyzed. The first steps every morning was like I was taking my very first steps as a human on the my right knee. The training room was the next home for me for the next couple weeks. I was going to be spending the majority of my time going through treatment.

There are 13 school-sponsored sports at Western and there are 5 beds for treatment in the training room. The amount of athletes in these 13 sports programs is unknown and would take some time to figure out, but the amount of players on these athletic team’s ranges from 10 on the golf team to 54 on the men’s track and field squad. Additionally, there are only 3 trainers and the trainers are specifically told to treat certain teams so some teams are only allowed to be treated by one trainer. This sort of issue leaves some athletes without treatment for long periods of time when large influxes of athletes come in together. Also, the trainers become swamped with all of these athletes that need something, so, as a result, the trainers resort to having students in the kinesiology program with very little experience assisting the athletes which may put them at risk for worsening the injury because the students don’t quite know all of the little things that the skilled, experienced trainers do.

Another downside of the training room are the hours. The typical quarterly hours for the training room is weekdays 10am to 5pm. The 7-hour gap seems like plenty of time to fit in some treatment if it is needed, but with the daily practices and classes interfering with the athlete’s schedule, finding time could be tough. The trainers are people as well and they need to have their lunch breaks, which takes out an hour of their availability. Many athletes also work out in the varsity gym on their own time so they can improve their strength day in and day out, and the gym also has varying hours because some teams have the gym reserved for a period of time so athletes who would like to work out on their own have to take that into account as well. The hours of the training room aren’t flexible either, so if the athletes schedule doesn’t match up with the training room, they are out of luck. Other minimal cons of the training room include not being able to take a phone call while being treated because it is seen as a distraction and during treatment, nobody can use the school’s wifi because it doesn’t reach the training room, despite being located next to one of the main areas of campus, the rec center.

I’d like to think of myself as a reasonable man, someone that factors in the positives and negatives, so the extended amount of negatives does make me sound like a pessimist, so I’ll throw in some positives. The atmosphere of the training room really is a welcoming place for all athletes and the trainers that work there are simply amazing and they all like to joke around with the athletes, so being able to do that and be a part of that kind of relationship is pretty cool. The athletes also get to meet other athletes from different sports which they may not have had the opportunity to in another setting. The training room truly is a great place and a great resource for the student-athletes at Western. With some changes, there can be major improvement. Perhaps the lack of funding comes into account when considering these negatives, but the negatives are truly a pain.

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