Photo courtesy of HSU Athletics.

Humboldt State’s Athletic Trainers

What HSU athletic trainers do for Student Athletes and how things have changed during this pandemic

Shannon Childs has been Humboldt State’s Head Athletic Trainer since 2002. He attended HSU and graduated in 2000 with a degree in kinesiology, emphasis in athletic training, before returning to finish his Masters.

Childs’ responsibility as head athletic trainer is the health and safety of the student athletes.

“As athletic trainers we are responsible for the care and prevention of athletic related injuries,” Childs said. “When an injury occurs it is our responsibility to assess the injury and determine the course of action that needs to happen for that student athlete to return to their sport.”

Gabrys Sadaunykas, a senior at HSU and member of the basketball team, was injured during practice and pulled his hamstring. He then went back to practice, aggravating it. Sadaunykas mentions how the athletic trainers have been great. Twice a week the athletic trainers hold a recovery day, or as they call it, “Love Day” where he gets treatments, massages and feels relaxed.

“Three times a week we are doing strength exercise and also conditioning,” Sadaunykas said. “So I would not be out of shape once I am good to practice.”

To determine if a student athlete is able to go back and play the sport, the trainers need to write a referral to a physician to do further diagnostic testing on the athletes injury. Sometimes the trainers need to do a detailed rehabilitation plan for the student athlete. Trainers would have to implement and carry out the plan until the student athlete is able to return.

Jenna Sobrero, a junior at HSU who plays for the softball team, has had a previous chronic shoulder dislocation with her last being during a practice. She discovered she had tore her labrum and her bicep in her shoulder the next day. The athletic trainers advised Sobrero to be visiting the training room everyday to help improve her shoulder with minor workouts after her surgery over the summer.

“As soon as the training room opened I went to visit Shannon and our new trainer Scott,” Sobrero said. “They were very supportive towards my goals of getting back to play. Being in season and being completely limited due to an injury is very frustrating. They not only helped me physically but they helped me mentally.”

Scott Daffern is the assistant athletic trainer. Daffern recently came back to HSU as the assistant athletic trainer in August of 2020. Daffern graduated from Humboldt State in 2010 with a Bachelors Degree and Masters Degree in 2013. During his time as a grad student at HSU, Daffern worked as an assistant athletic trainer for three years.

During this pandemic all the sports and student athletes have been affected. Daffern is saddened by how as athletic trainers they can no longer bounce from one student to another.

“In the past we could jump around and work with multiple student athletes at a time,” Daffern said. “We have had to limit the amount of people coming into the athletic training room as well which is very different.”

The athletic training room used to be a safe haven for the student athletes to relax.

“Now the only people in the ATR are those getting treatment and rehab for injuries,” Childs said. “Everything is single use and must be cleaned after each use. We have been working hard to keep our student athletes healthy and participating in their sport while doing our best to keep covid from spreading through our student athletes”.

Childs misses the competitions and has struggled to keep the student athletes in a positive attitude.

“Playing games and competing against other teams is the reward for all the hard work that the student athletes, coaches and support staff put in on a daily basis.” Childs said. “It is hard to motivate the student athletes when they are not training for competition.”

Daffern feels very lucky being able to work with the student athletes this semester and the general attitude from the student athletes has been keeping him positive.

“It is a pleasure to come to work to help these student athletes be better at what they love to do, even during the pandemic,” Daffern said. “I think all this has been able to provide our student athletes with an opportunity to release any negativity that they might have picked up during the day and week. It is the one place that is sort of normal for them right now.”

HSU was the only school in the CCAA that was able to engage in contact practices for the 2020 fall semester.

“I think these practices helped out student athletes feel a bit of normalcy during these tough times,” said Childs. “It is also the perfect time to get in shape and ready for the upcoming seasons.”

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