By Tia Vierling |Photo courtesy of Tia Vierling

The trainer’s office at Colorado College is no pinnacle of aesthetic achievement. In fact, it is a fairly drab, small space with yellowed walls and hooks crowded with resistance bands. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like a place that would draw students to it.

However, that small office services a surprising number of CC students daily — and as injured and healing students readjust to being at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of the trainer as a resource is a challenge that could easily remain unnoticed, at least at first. Continuing with my rehab activities wasn’t something I had considered as among my priorities leaving CC — but I now find myself missing that little office tucked away next to the auxiliary gym.

The challenges at home for students in the middle of rehab are plentiful. One of the first factors up for consideration is motivation. For many students, doing rehab exercises at CC was, if not pure fun, at least a communal activity. The trainer’s office bustled with students cycling through, often providing conversation and mutual commiseration. Furthermore, the “guilt factor” for students who didn’t come in as often as they should have provided motivation for continuing to heal and strengthen their bodies. At home, many students don’t have the same environment for emotional wellbeing to join physical rehab activities.

Doing rehab at home also presents logistical challenges. For students with large families, finding a space to complete exercises can be an exercise in patience itself. Furthermore, most students just don’t have the same resources as CC when it comes to rehab equipment. For example, a BOSU ball, which provides a flat surface on one side and a round, pliable “ball” on the other, is featured in many rehab exercises but costs nearly $90 on Amazon. Financially, purchasing such equipment for personal use is an untenable proposition for many, as is paying for a local physical therapist.

Despite these mounting challenges, there are also many resources that remain accessible to students facing unexpected barriers to their rehab. Online resources like the website run by “The Prehab Guys” feature videos and descriptions of exercises that can be personalized to individual students. Colorado College’s resources, too, attempt to support students through difficulties with rehab at home.

One thing hasn’t changed: the responsibility for engaging in rehab exercises still falls on the shoulders of students. At CC, this responsibility could appear in the form of going to the trainer and working through exercises; at home, it may instead constitute self-discipline in setting aside time each week to complete the necessary rehab. The major difference is that doing rehab at home asks more of students, mentally and emotionally if not physically.

Luckily, CC students recovering from injuries and building up their strength have a plethora of chances to prove their willingness to continue to engage with rehab. Self-organized activities at home may be more difficult to initiate, but they can still contribute to an improvement of long-term health. Self-quarantine may affect the ease with which students deal with injury mediation, but, with persistence and flexibility, those of us engaging in rehab are sure to rise to the challenge.

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