Ask any successful athlete and they will claim injury prevention and care are keys to staying healthy. That is why the Washburn University training staff is considered a vital tool to performing at the highest level.
The training staff is led by three primary doctors; John Burns, Steve Ice and Michael Rodriguez who are assisted by 31 student-trainers.
Stepping into the training room, athletes can be seen at work either rehabbing an injury or preparing for their upcoming practice or game. The sounds of tape being wrapped around the ankles or wrists of athletes can be heard, while the sound of the bikes, bands and elliptical equipment being used to get muscles warmed up and stretched out before practice are a common theme. Colene Adams, sophomore student-trainer, believes student-athletes should take advantage of the facility before going on the field
“The environment is real nice compared to other teams in the conference,” Adams said. “Athletes should use the room to help prevent injury and to make sure they can perform at the highest level.”
Burns also feels athletes must be smart on and off the field to stay successful.
“Athletes need to realize what they do in their daily lives affects their injury,” Burns said. “From what they drink, eat or do in their daily lives.”
One of the features about the training room is the HydroWorks machine that is located by the pool at Petro Allied Health Center. The HydroWorks includes an underwater treadmill and three different water hoses that are crucial for rehabbing deep bone bruises, muscle strains and tears. The machine can be used at any water temperature hot or cold and is only one of two machines along with Cameron University in the NCAA Division II level.
Senior football player Michael Wilhoite uses the HydroWorks regularly and feels it’s a great addition WU athletics for its athletes to get back on the field.
“The HydroWorks have been very beneficial for my stress fracture I had on my foot,” Wilhoite said. “I basically lived in it and in the pool to rehab in the summer and now that time is paying off and got me back on the field.”
The staff also makes custom mouth pieces for their athletes. These mouth pieces are specifically molded for their mouth and help prevent concussions. The trainers and student trainers also oversee practices to help assist in stretching and be on the site for in case possible injuries occur.
Overall, Washburn has one of the best training staffs in the nation and what they do is sometimes overlooked. Freshman basketball player Jeff Reid puts it best on how a student-athlete should use the training room.
“Athletes should use the training room as needed, but not abuse it,” Reid said. “If you use the staff correctly it will greatly payoff for you on the court or field.”