Athletic Trainers at Glendale Community College

What have athletic trainers at GCC been doing despite Covid-19

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Eric Hayrapetian, Staff Writer

One of the most crucial aspects of a long and successful season for a student-athlete is making sure that their body is healthy and injury-free throughout the entirety of the season. Athletic trainers play a significant role in making this possible by not only treating student-athletes who are dealing with new or existing injuries, but also helping prevent possible injuries from occurring in the future. They work with our student-athletes to assure that they are in the best possible shape before, during, and after their season. Our athletic trainers are extremely beneficial and play a part in the success of our teams and student-athletes.

However, with Covid-19 causing campuses and facilities to close, athletic trainers can’t interact with student-athletes face to face. The consequence of everything moving to a virtual environment means athletic trainers along with student-athletes and coaches have had to adapt and change to the new circumstances. Glendale Community College’s athletic trainers Jose Gomez and Claudia Orejuela have had a lot on their plate during these unprecedented times, but have done their part to make sure that student-athletes are continuing to receive proper assistance and attention. Gomez has been working at GCC for 30 years and Orejuela is a GCC alumna who was also a student-athlete.

Both athletic trainers were asked about how Covid-19 has affected their working environment, along with what challenges it has brought upon them. With their jobs being centered around student-athletes and making sure that their body is in excellent shape, not having them around caused a complete switch not only in how they perform their work but also in their workplace. Gomez and Orejuela collaborated on their responses and said that they have been “missing the enthusiasm and excitement of the student-athletes” and that there has been a sense of “solitude and emptiness” in the workplace. In addition to having the setting of their workplace altered, there have been obstacles that have affected how they go about their work.

In a profession of having to treat and work on athletes, not having in-person interactions presents a challenge in and of itself. Gomez and Orejuela’s most difficult task was shifting over to an online platform, where they continued their work with student-athletes. “We needed to develop a skill set to be able to perform telemedicine…[and] learn to be more proficient with web-based applications to continue to perform our duties,” said Gomez and Orejuela. With this sudden shift to a virtual setting, our athletic trainers had to adjust rather quickly so that they would be able to continue their work effectively. By doing so, they have been able to work by using telemedicine to “continue to provide a high level of health care” for student-athletes at GCC. Keeping the student-athletes at the top of their priorities has been the biggest reason as to why they have been able to actively assist student-athletes. 

Furthermore, Gomez and Orejuela have also been working towards a plan that is safe enough for all student-athletes and staff to return. Having the campus open up once again would be beneficial but safety is the ultimate objective. With that in mind, Gomez and Orejuela have been consistently “Reading every document dealing with Covid-19 that has been presented by the CDC…[and have been] developing policies and procedures that meet those guidelines for a safe return.” Creating an environment where the conditions are safe enough for everyone to return is single-handedly the most important goal for them to achieve. 

Covid-19 has brought many unexpected turns and has forced everyone to adjust to the new, yet temporary, style of living. Even without being able to evaluate and assist student-athletes with their recovery process in person, athletic trainers Jose Gomez and Claudia Orejuela adapted to their new way of online working and have done everything in their power to make sure that student-athletes are staying safe and healthy.

 

Eric Hayrapetian can be reached at [email protected]