Sports

Hockey emphasizes health

Graduate assistant oversees ice hockey health and safety.

Alyssa Davis said she didn’t know what to expect when she attended her first Temple ice hockey game as the team’s trainer.

“The first ice hockey game, I was really unprepared,” Davis said. “I didn’t take ice bags because I thought, ‘They’re hockey players, they’re not going to want ice.’ And I was just bombarded with guys saying ‘Can you tape this?’ That was a little shocking.”

Davis is this year’s Campus Recreation graduate extern, specializing in athletic training. Davis, the first graduate extern hired by Campus Recreation, oversees all of Temple’s 27 club sports, as well as the rugby sevens squad. It is the first time Campus Recreation has hired an athletic trainer to tend to club members to go along with the Emergency Medical Technician group on-hand for games.

The job entails attending both men’s and women’s rugby practices and games, and practices for ice hockey, Davis said. She also accommodates student athletes of all club sports at the university, working in treatment and rehabilitation.

Davis earned her Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training at the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s lack of a strong graduate program led Davis to look at other schools in order to pursue her studies in the sports medicine field.

“[Pittsburgh] has club sports, but they don’t have athletic trainers covering them,” Davis said. “They push [club athletes] toward student health and I didn’t really like that. I liked the idea that I would have this opportunity and actually be involved here.”

Campus Recreation also added four athletic trainers to work under Davis to help oversee games for club soccer, baseball and lacrosse, among others.

Junior ice hockey player Nick McMahon was one of the first on the team to take advantage of Davis’ services after suffering a tear in his Achilles tendon during an alumni tournament game in May. He participates in at least three rehab sessions per week with Davis.

“I went to rehab over the summer at a local place and it wasn’t half as good as [Davis] is,” McMahon said. “I thought I was going to have to go to Center City every day and I wasn’t going to be able to do that because of school and work. To have something like this available on campus, it’s huge. I would not be playing if it weren’t for that.”

The installment of a graduate extern in athletic training goes along with the emergency medical technician group service provided at ice hockey games since 1998. The move is one part in a series of recent improvements by Campus Recreation in dealing with injuries to club members.

The department requires every club to appoint one player safety officer, someone aware of Campus Recreation’s injury and concussion processes. The safety officer is also CPR certified for the position. Senior forward Sean Nealis assumed the role for the current ice hockey season.

“The idea of safety officer is that someone is always aware of Campus Recreation’s injury protocol,” coach Jerry Roberts said. “For away games where there isn’t always a trainer or an EMT, there’s always someone there in case of emergency.”

Campus Recreation has also responded to the recent increase of awareness of concussions in ice hockey.

Prior to the 2010-11 academic year, the department implemented a concussion protocol that set up a player contact system in which a player with a head injury contacts a Temple University Hospital contact in order to get examined at the hospital.

The protocol also requires any team to evaluate a player upon a physical blow to the head. If a player shows any type of symptom related to a concussion, the player is then held out for the remainder of the game and must go through the player contact system with Temple University Hospital, Campus Recreation Director Steve Young said.

Junior forward Pat Schramm experienced the system first-hand after a collision with a University of Maryland, Baltimore County defenseman in November 2010. After initial evaluation from the hospital, Schramm reached out to Campus Recreation’s POC and set up an appointment with a Temple University Hospital doctor.

“Once you start having headaches, you have to wait two weeks after that and that’s what I did,” Schramm said. “I played the waiting game.”

As someone who has been around Temple ice hockey for 10 years, Roberts praised the improvement in injury awareness and player treatment implemented by Campus Recreation.

“What they have now, I don’t see how it could get any better,” Roberts said. “As far as we’re concerned, having a trainer during all home games, having access to a training and rehab facility for guys with injuries and having a resource to reach out to for concussions – in our world, it can’t get any better.”

“In my opinion, this is the best thing that Campus Recreation has done for the club sports because we ensure that our players are safe and we’re able to minimize and reduce injuries,” Roberts added. “There’s no improvement than can possibly be made.”

Andrew Parent can be reached at andrew.parent@temple.edu or on Twitter @daParent93.

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