Athletic trainers prepare for uncertain times

The OLLU athletic trainers (AT) have adjusted their routine due to COVID-19 guidelines and are preparing for a busy spring season.

Head AT Corey Beechner received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word. Assistant AT Alyssa Guerra earned her bachelor’s degree from OLLU and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University. Both ATs are San Antonio natives and have been with OLLU for multiple years. Guerra was part of the women’s soccer team for three years as a goalkeeper.

Ever since COVID-19 shut the country down in early spring, the ATs began preparing for the future by developing protocols and guidelines. After the trainers returned to campus in June, they ensured they adapted to daily changes, while continuing to modify protocols based on new information and possible positive cases.

When the fall semester began this past August and athletes arrived on campus, Guerra said, “We started to use a contactless screening survey that coaches and athletes fill out daily. This has limited exposure because athletes don’t need to come to the training room in person to hand in paperwork.”

When athletes need to see one of the ATs for treatments, the protocols are to schedule a time and wait at the door before being let in due to capacity limits. The athletes are required to wear a mask and sign in to allow the trainers to record who has been in the training room. When an athlete tests positive for COVID-19, the athletes and students that were in close contact with them must self-quarantine. The athlete who tested positive will be given proper instructions on isolating and their daily schedule will be modified. 

Although the ATs have been working hard to prepare for every situation, they rely on university officials, the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) and NAIA to guide them in their decisions. Beechner commented, “We have put capacity limits on the weight room, training room, gym and offices based on the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.” The limits help avoid overlapping of teams in a certain area and erase contact between athletes. 

Christus Santa Rosa Health System, which announced a partnership with OLLU in mid-November, has provided an abundance of testing resources during COVID-19. They also have aided OLLU with a part-time athletic trainer and an orthopedic doctor that stops by on a weekly basis. Christus has also helped develop protocols and policy guidelines.

The RRAC moved fall competition to the spring season due to COVID-19 concerns; however, all teams will be practicing and conditioning this fall. OLLU plans to have the basketball teams begin their regular season in the winter and the other 15 teams to compete in 2021.