Saints Athletic Trainers Navigate COVID-19 Challenges
The St. Scholastica athletic training program was recognized during March for National Athletic Trainers Awareness month.
DULUTH, Minn. – March was National Athletic Trainer Awareness month, shinning a light on how they help student athletes across the country. The St. Scholastica program worked all month-long to showcase what they do, how they’re available for student-athletes, and how they’re daily routines changed once the coronavirus hit.
“We have taken for granted so long that sports are always going to be there and it’s a coping mechanism, it’s an outlet, it’s exercise, it’s competition, which drives our athletes,” head athletic trainer Thomas Rheaume said.
While games and practices are not currently happening, the work doesn’t stop for the St. Scholastica athletic trainers. During the year, they do more than help out with the athletes before and during games.
“Most of the work is done in the athletic training facility where we’re doing the evaluation, the treatment, the rehab, patient education and making recommendations for nutrition, being a resource for mental health,” Rheaume said.
They also build relationships wit the student-athletes to help maximize their care.
“It’s enhanced even before they come to see us with an injury because then they know that we have their back, they can trust us, they’re going to get the best care. And they need to have confidence and trust that we’re going to communicate appropriately with their coaches, whether that’s things that they do want shared or things that they don’t want shared in terms of their medical care,” Rheaume added.
With the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve moved to virtual appointments and are relying on social media.
“We’ve also put up updated information on our website. Just because things are different, there aren’t games being played at the moment, doesn’t mean they can’t take care of their body or we can’t take care of injuries or help them prevent things moving forward,” Rheaume said.
And for former St. Scholastica athletic trainers, many of them have shifted from their daily jobs to help with whatever they can.
“We have an alumni who works with an occupational medicine company and one of the groups that they serve is warehouse workers and truck drivers that are delivering groceries and products to the stores that we need in a time like this. They’re helping those people be healthy and working,” Rheaume said.
But for now, the current athletic trainers are just trying to be there for their student-athletes, so when sports are resumed, the Saints are ready to go.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things when you have helped a patient overcome an injury to achieve their goals and get back on the field. I think the first time they get back out on the field and get to do that again with their teammates is going to be exhilarating,” Rheaume added.