Behind-the-scene workers are an integral part to any successful production. In a theatre show, the orchestra, director, and set producers all need to work hand-in-hand to ensure a smooth performance. The Athletic Department and its sports medicine staff is not an exception to this structure.
The environment of the Athletic Department is unlike any other department at Colorado College; Certified Athletic Trainers (ATCs), graduate students, physical therapists, P.T. Aides, and student athletic trainers work together at injury prevention and treatment. The involved training staff becomes part of each team.
Josh Arguello and Tiffany Cardenas, both student athletic trainers for the Women’s Division I Soccer team, demonstrate how people outside of the sport can become as dedicated to the team as the athlete.
“I truly love my work,” said Josh Arguello. “I have gotten to know everyone: staff, athletes, and students.”
Devoting about four hours of each day to practice, Josh and Tiffany inadvertently signed up to be full-time members of the team. Setting up for practice, wrapping, taping, watching practice, and afterwards taking care of athletes leads to a significant commitment.
Each staff member is strongly encouraged to gain practical rehabilitation experience with individual athletes. Cindy Endicott, the Coordinator of Rehabilitation Services, is a prime example of this proactive environment.
In regards to working with Cindy, Josh said, “Shadowing is not a good term to use—it means you are behind and observing. However, working with Cindy, you get to actually participate and work with the athlete. She wants us to take initiative.”
One of the more difficult parts of the job is witnessing an injury to one of the athletes. Each employee can tell a different story about the most intense injury they witnessed: from lacerations of the neck to sprained ankles.
It’s astounding how eager the players are to get back to the game, and, although necessary, it is hard for the staff to restrict the athlete. As Tiffany Cardenas said, “First week is more mental; you have to help them, and no matter how long the recovery is from the injury, it’s devastating to see the player not get to do what they love.”
Ultimately, helping the players return to the field and later seeing them complete a successful season is a reward for the hours put into the rehabilitation.
When asked, both Tiffany and Josh agreed that one of the more gratifying parts of working as a student athletic trainer is the enthusiastic learning environment and the genuineness of the athletes. “The athletes know that you’re not just there to work, but to also help them,” said Tiffany.
So, for all of Colorado College sports attendees: next time you attend a beloved soccer game or an intense hockey match, remember that just past the team, quietly standing in the khakis and polos, is the staff, ensuring that each member of the team can play.