In and out of season, athletes are prepping for their competitions. Whether through drills and scrimmages or strength and conditioning, student-athletes continuously test their bodies physically. Amid those tests, the athletic training staff is always on hand to watch, control and protect athletes from injury.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the typical roles of athletic trainers are being adjusted as the normal routine of athletics has been forced to shift.
Before the pandemic, athletic training staff worked with all student-athletes throughout the day, but even now, with limited contact and all teams in an offseason, the staff keeps busy — even if that means new roles and approaches.
“Everyone is in masks, the cleaning is definitely heightened right now and everything is a lot more structured,” assistant trainer Molly Trevathan said. “You pretty much have to have a scheduled time for everything now, even people who just need tape.”
Trevathan, currently working with both the women’s volleyball and rowing teams, is in her fifth year at Creighton where she’s now seeing a new side of her job.
To ensure safe social distancing, makeshift athletic training offices are set up at Morrison Stadium, and only athletes needing to be taped or doing injury rehab are permitted into those offices.
This means that athletes now do preand post-practice recovery and preventative treatments alone. Facilities such as ice baths, whirlpools and the underwater treadmill are under strict restrictions.
Trevathan points to another major change in surveillance testing of all teams. Through this process, 25% of athletes, coaches and anyone in contact with the team is tested each week.
Athletic trainers have also adapted to working at testing sites around campus, where they conduct the nasal swab tests for everyone on campus.
This all differs from a normal year.
Typically, the offseason focus during the school year is on injury prevention and strengthening.
Requiring constant communication with the student-athletes, coaches and one another, trainers normally did a majority of their hands-on treatments with athletes in the hours surrounding practices.
“Before practice, almost the entire team at some point is in the athletic training room, whether it be recovery, doing any sort of mobility exercises, strengthening — just doing different things so that they are ready when the long season really does roll around,” Trevathan said of the typical out-of-season day for the volleyball team.
In season, their workload ramps up, working even longer days than before, as strength building shifts to recovery treatments. With increased competition, injury increases, meaning more rehab treatments when teams transition into their seasons.
While athletes remain in small groups — training with masks and minimal contact — athletic trainers are on hand to perform their normal duties while also keeping teams safe and healthy in preparation for the return of NCAA competition.