We at the Record would like to commend College Council (CC) and the College for establishing and funding a trainer position for club sports athletes. It is heartening to see this largely student-led initiative reach fruition through the combined effort of CC and the administration, as this is exactly the kind of thing CC and the College should be doing: listening to and furthering student interests, particularly when it relates to students’ well-being.
A dedicated club sports trainer fulfills an obvious need for athletes of all club sports, though particularly so for rugby players, who face a relatively high rate of injury compared to other sports teams. We hope that in the case of men’s and women’s rugby — teams which have been axed at schools such as Colby because of the high rate of injury and high cost of emergency medical transport (EMT) support at games and practice — having a trainer available every weekday will help keep players healthy, and thus lead to a lower burden on the community’s emergency medical services.
We at the Record also commend the College and the athletics department for recognizing the growing danger of concussions, especially on developing minds. Increased baseline testing for all sports involving potential contact, whether varsity or club, has significantly decreased the likelihood that a student athlete would be unaware of a potentially dangerous concussion sustained in the line of play.
However, that CC is left to fund the ambulance fees at rugby matches (i.e. the EMT staff who provide medical support at games) seems contrary to the College’s responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of its students. The College ought to shoulder the burden of EMT support or else reevaluate the status of rugby at the College. The health and safety of student athletes should not hinge on obtaining funding through a vote of their peers, regardless of what sport they play. In the absence of another source of funding, we at the Record do expect that CC will continue to fund this important service annually, but it should not be the students’ responsibility to fund something so important and costly as an ambulance service.
Of course, this raises a question of priorities; should trainers then be present and available at other club team competitions, such as Williams Ultimate Frisbee Organization tournaments or water polo matches, both sports where injuries are certainly common as well? This would clearly require more funding toward the club sports trainer program, though it would certainly be worthy of consideration if injury rates at these events necessitate it.
Overall, we at the Record applaud both student and College efforts in attending to the well-being of student athletes and realizing a necessary service. However, we believe this recent initiative is only a starting point from which we can more fully evaluate the resources club sports receive from the College.