SARAH WUELLNER, Asst. Sports Editor—With March being Athletic Trainer’s Month, I am taking a look into the practices of the sports medicine department. 

The pandemic has intensified the need for athletic trainers as they conduct COVID-19 tests for Denison athletes along with their normal season work with athletes. The need for athletic trainers to check in on athletes with COVID complications and physical checkups has increased this year. 

As sports at Denison have resumed under certain conditions this semester, many changes have been implicated to accommodate for the increased safety guidelines. Varsity athletes are thrilled to be competing, but club sport athletes are not experiencing the same excitement as they have not been approved for as many games. 

This is not the only aspect that club sports lack in as they do not have weekly COVID-19 tests readily available for their athletes like varsity players do. Varsity athletes are tested every couple of days to ensure they are safe and do not transmit illness to visiting competition. Although club sport teams have yet to face visiting teams, they are playing against each other. It can be challenging to maintain six feet for social distancing in sports that require touch, such as soccer. 

It is frustrating for the students in club sports not having the same chances to play as the varsity athletes. Even before the pandemic, club sports also lacked necessary athletic trainers on call for competitions. At varsity games and even practices, more than one athletic trainer is on the sidelines ready to treat an injured player. 

Club sport athletes have to jump through hoops to get checked out for injuries and may only be sent to the Wellness Center for care. Injuries are just as common in club sports as they are in varsity athletics. In the case of rugby, many students in the past were unable to receive the help they needed by an athletic trainer. This is because club sports are at a disadvantage when it comes to looking over their injuries as the athletic trainers must put varsity athletes first. 

I know that those in sports medicine want to take care of any student that is not well, but they must prioritize the varsity teams. This is frustrating for club sport teams as they may need the assistance of an athletic trainer and will not have the resources to get in contact with one. 

There seems to be a sufficient number of athletic trainers to check out athletes, but not enough for the club sports teams. I hope that in the near future, club sport teams will receive the necessary sports medicine protocol additions that the varsity teams have.