As a retired Colorado College athlete who was often injured, I was very familiar with the athletic training room. From shin splints to high ankle sprains, joint realignments, and shoulder dislocations, the Colorado College Sports Medicine department is equipped to deal with nearly any sports injury that comes its way.
The staff is comprised of a number of certified athletic trainers and a select group of student athletic trainers. Every member of the staff – professional and student alike – has a different reason that drew them into the profession. Some are driven by the science behind it all, while others, like athletic trainer Holly Fry, are driven by the interaction with the players.
“I am in this profession to watch an athlete come back from an injury and play a sport that they may not have been able to if they didn’t have an athletic trainer taking care of them,” Fry said.
Fry has been working in the Colorado College training room for five years now and is currently the athletic trainer for Women’s Volleyball, Women’s Basketball, and Men’s Lacrosse. In addition to taking care of her players, Fry is responsible for working with student athletic trainers.
“I thought teaching the students would be hard for me, but I love interacting with and teaching the students who work with us. They are always engaging and asking questions and I feel that they get a great experience by working with us,” Fry said.
Student Ben Polach was thinking of a career in medicine and thought becoming a student athletic trainer would be good hands-on experience.
“I guess the anatomy of it all draws me in because I got to take the class with cadavers last year. It’s interesting to visualize how what you’re doing to the body externally is affecting the muscles internally,” Polach said.
From working among peers and professionals, Polach feels that it’s a motivating environment in which everyone is responsible for their own education and self-improvement on the job.
Student athletic trainers face the challenge of balancing class, homework, a social life, and a commitment to the training room. In a normal week, a student athletic trainer may spend as many as 25 hours working, which typically includes two hours of practice a day, one to two games on the weekends, and assisting or regulating treatments and physical therapy. In order to be able to do this job, student athletic trainers must be willing to dedicate their time, and understand not only the injuries at hand, but also the treatments and rehabilitation methods.
Part of the job description of an athletic trainer is to take care of the athletes in and out of season, and sometimes the athletic trainers are responsible for bearing bad news of injuries. Even so, the Colorado College Sports Medicine staff has enabled many of our peers to get back on the court, the field, the track, and in the pool to complete their Varsity careers.