The suspension of collegiate sports due to COVID-19 may be one of the longest breaks CPP student-athletes have experienced, but it has allowed some to recover from injuries at their own pace.
Now that non-essential businesses have returned, athletes are referred to treatment outside of campus. There are currently three athletes undergoing physical therapy off site.
Athletes who used the training room two to three times a day for physical therapy had to transition to emails, phone calls and online Zoom meetings with their health athletic trainers for their socially distanced well-being checkups.
During the first stages of the pandemic, it was difficult for athletes to see physicians and physical therapists for non-essential treatment. Few athletes with these needs were approved for limited appointments to receive treatment on campus with safety protocols in place.
Monica Todd, a senior forward for the women’s basketball team, who is currently receiving physical therapy outside of campus, felt a nagging pain with her Achilles tendon injury during the 2019-2020 season back in March. Todd’s options to recover were to stop playing or to keep undergoing treatment. Todd remembers thinking that the first option to stop playing was not a realistic one — until the campus’ sudden closure.
The suspension of CPP sports has helped Todd heal her Achilles tendon injury and soothe those aching pains. Todd has been playing basketball since she was 5 years old and hasn’t missed a day since.
Todd’s rehab was interrupted for a month and a half, and she couldn’t resume physical therapy for her ACL and Achilles injuries until mid-July.
Meanwhile, Ruem Malasarn, assistant athletic director for sport performance, and other athletic trainers, sent Todd equipment to San Marcos, California where she currently resides and are helping her rehabilitate through Zoom calls.
Malasarn, along with other athletic trainers, provide available online office hours and appointments for athletes who need any assistance with injuries or health issues. The athletic trainers have their list of athletes they continually check up on to best address their health, mental or nutritional concerns. They continue to provide their services virtually and direct athletes to physicians or doctors when needed.
“Overall, it’s been a balance,” said Malasarn. “I think there’s some aches and pains that a lot of athletes deal with throughout their seasons that have been able to calm down. But, at the same time, the level of fitness and strength that they are used to having with their consistent training also helped them manage that and they haven’t been able to do that either; so, it’s a little bit of both.”
Malasarn recognizes that in-person interactions allowed him to help athletes more efficiently. Regardless, the number of injured athletes has declined due to the suspension of contact sports and low intensity workouts, now that most athletes train on their own, according to Malasarn.
“It’s been tough, to be honest, just because it’s kind of hard to stay motivated when you’re on your own, and you don’t have your team and coaches constantly around you,” said Taylor Ramussen, senior women’s soccer defender who has trained on her own since the closures in March.
Ramussen feels she now has more responsibility to look after her own injuries. Rasmussen receives workouts from her strength and conditioning coach, group chats with her teammates and tries to keep herself accountable when it comes to her own self training.
“It was really tough at first to wrap my head around it. I might not be able to play again, but then you remember that this is something that’s out of our control,” said Ramussen. “It hurts but I kind of accepted it, and I’m just hopeful that we’ll get to play in the spring.”
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