CLU Athletes Need Treatment Too

Playing a club sport at California Lutheran University can be tough. Not only can sports like rugby and hockey be as physically demanding as any varsity sport on campus, but the athletes who participate are not able to receive any of the training or medical care that varsity athletes receive. Although it is understandable that the training room cannot all of the sudden open its doors to over 50 new athletes, I believe that something has to be done to care for our club athletes.

My idea is that we allow club athletes to use the training room for getting ice and taking ice baths. Intern trainers should be sent out to their competitions to care for the athletes and to gain  experience in the field In extreme circumstances, club athletes should be allowed to see trainers to help with injury rehabilitation.

I understand why the training room does not want 30 more rugby players coming in to get “rubbed out” whenever they feel like it, or the entire hockey team coming to receive unnecessary treatment before every practice or game. I do believe some circumstances call for our trainers to care for club athletes.

One athlete who knows firsthand the importance of having medical staff at games is junior hockey player Warner Cutbill. During a game last fall, Cutbill took a hit that broke his scapula and sent him to the emergency room.

“I broke my scapula on December 6. It is now four months later and my scapula is still not properly healed,” Cutbill said in an email. “I waited to see a physical therapist until my doctor told me that my scapula was no longer broken, but I was not able to see a physical therapist until three weeks after that date because their availability for appointments did not match up with the available times in my schedule.”

Although the decision on whether or not to treat club athletes is not up to head athletic trainer Kecia Davis, she said she believes opening up the entire training room to club athletes would be very difficult.

“Due to the amount of time we spend treating and working practices and games for our NCAA student athletes, it would definitely be a strain on our staff,” Davis said in an email interview. “Also, since all of our NCAA athletes have to go through a thorough medical clearance and orthopedic screening, and intramural and club sports do not, we do not have proper information to treat these students,.

It does make sense that it would be difficult to treat an injured club athlete if they had not gone through medical clearances before beginning the season.

However, if the school did allow club athletes to go through a medical clearance prior to beginning their season, treating them if they received an extreme injury like Cutbill would be more realistic.

“I worry for the long-term recovery of my shoulder and I feel like my shoulder, will never be back to 100 percent. I believe that my shoulder would have healed properly if I was able to use the training room to recover,” Cutbill said.

Although junior rugby captain Aaron Bowman said he understands that allowing the athletes to use the assistance of trainers and the training facilities would be a strain on the staff, he said he believes some sort of compromise needs to be made.

“In rugby and hockey you do see a lot of injuries, so some ground needs to be set forth in the assisting of club athletes,” Bowman said.

Although opening up the entire training room to every club athlete is very unrealistic, I believe compromises need to be made in order to assist our club sports. As I previously mentioned, I believe allowing them to get ice and ice baths, having interns at games and allowing athletes to rehab in the training room after extreme injuries would be a fair compromise. After all, just like any varsity athlete, they are putting their bodies on the line and working hard to represent our school.

Cody McElligott
Staff Writer
Published April 15th, 2015