Club sports athletes report difficulties accessing athletic trainers

5C club sports, like the Claremont Foxes rugby team, are not able to get full treatment from athletic trainers. (Courtesy: CMS Athletics)

5C club sport athletes report limited access to athletic trainers at both the Roberts Pavilion and the Rains Center, causing frustration, confusion and concerns about injuries.

Athletic trainers at both facilities say they do their best to support club athletes, helping out at home games and scheduling appointments to address injuries.

Still, some athletes not on NCAA teams see room for improvement.

Madden McDonnell PZ ’21 has played soccer for both the 5C club team and the Pomona-Pitzer NCAA team, and said the situation for club athletes is more difficult and potentially dangerous.

“[As an NCAA athlete] I could just hop in to see a trainer but now I have to kind of guess about what I hurt,” she said via email. Some club sport athletes “do not necessarily feel supported because we do not have access to people who can help us with being safe” anytime but during the games, she said.

Dayla Woller SC ’21 is a member of the Claremont Foxes, the 5C women’s rugby team, which she said has had trouble getting seen by athletic trainers in the past.

“Rugby is a sport … prone to injuries, so particularly for our team, not having as much access to [Claremont-Mudd-Scripps] athletic trainers as other sports has resulted in many players not receiving any treatment at all,” she said via email.

Rugby is not an NCAA sport, so it is classified as a club sport. The Foxes compete at the USA Rugby Collegiate Division II level and finished second at the DII Women’s Rugby Nationals in 2018.

“It would be nice to have at least some help in terms of athletic trainers supporting our injured players … especially considering that a lot of our players are seeking medical advice regarding injuries sustained during games,” Woller said.

In accordance with department regulations, athletic trainers are present at many club sports’ home games, Pomona-Pitzer club sports director Brandon Johnson said via email.

However, per P-P and CMS policy, the athletic trainers are primarily meant as a resource for NCAA athletes, not club or intramural athletes or other students, according to Johnson and CMS head athletic trainer Steve Graves.

Graves said via email that CMS trainers “will offer a consultation on injuries for other CMS students, staff, faculty and provide recommendations for simple self-care or referral to the appropriate medical providers.”

P-P has a similar approach, Johnson said.

“If a Pomona or Pitzer club athlete … reaches out to myself or the P-P [athletic trainers] we do our best to schedule a consultation with the P-P [athletic trainers] and/or provide additional resources to the individual(s),” Johnson said via email.

Last year during her season, Woller said she went to get treatment from a CMS trainer who told her she couldn’t be treated for “insurance reasons,” but was still given a bag of ice.

“I wish that the trainers were more accessible and welcoming to at least the CMS club athletes,” she said.

Despite these difficulties, McDonnell said having a trainer at home games is “very helpful.” She said they provide tape, supervise pre-game stretches and distribute ice after games.

They’re there in case anyone gets hurt, which I think is very important,” she said.

Johnson said that on top of the required trainers at home games, the club sports program has attempted to have at least two trainers at all rugby matches. The trainers are paid for by a club sports budget funded jointly by CMS and P-P.

In the future, 5C Club Sports is pursuing initiatives to expand the availability of sports medicine resources for club athletes. Club sports leaders are working to improve communication and education about treating sports injuries, offer on campus drop-in clinics with trainers paid for by 5C Club Sports and provide trainers for all contact sport practices, Johnson said.

Johnson said Casa Colina, a local hospital about 10 minutes’ drive from the 5Cs, has free clinics with athletic trainers, physical therapists and doctors on Sundays and Mondays, with complimentary X-ray imaging available on Sundays.

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