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Athletic Medicine

The University of Washington has a top notch Athletic Training department that offers a wide range of services to its athletes. Centrally located on the athletic campus in Hec Edmundson Pavilion, the department provides student-athletes with on-site care at its highest level. Along with its ability to prevent and rehabilitate athletic injuries, the department offers other services.

"We try to provide whatever our athletes could need so that they don't have to go anywhere else," said Head Athletic Trainer Pat Jenkins. "We try to wrap it all up in here. The athletes' time between practice, class, tutoring and weight lifting is pretty limited."

In order to provide the services needed by hundreds of Husky student-athletes, the Athletic Training needs a large staff. The unit has a staff of 12 athletic trainers, each of which is assigned specific sports to cover. Depending on the risk of injury inherent with each sport, the trainer will either be present at every practice and event or at every home event for lower risk sports. The presence of trainers on-site can be crucial for the immediate response to injury, as well as the ability to return athletes to action as soon as possible.

"Athletic Trainers are a blend between physical trainers and emergency medical technicians," said Jenkins. "We're found somewhere in between. We're prepared and ready for emergency catastrophic situations. Broken legs, cuts bruises, things like that. We want to make sure the athlete is okay and you want to see what is going on to try to fix the problem."

The trainers are the first contact for the athletes, but the health care available goes much further. Other staff members include four family physicians that offer health clinics in the afternoon five days a week for athletes as well as three orthopedists that work closely with the department. An additional staffer is present through the Sport Medicine Fellowship, a program through which gives a physician experience in athletic medicine through Hall Health. The Conibear Shellhouse houses a sports psychologist and a nutritionist. Massage and chiropractic consultants are available as well. Athletes also benefit from the University's proximity to the University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview.

"We have virtually instant access to a level-one trauma center at Harborview and to the University Medical Center here next door," Said Jenkins. "We can get MRI's, X-rays and CT scans right now if we needed to... It's good that we have access and we have relationships with specialists in hand, foot/ankle, trauma and brain that our trainer group is networked with when we need them. "

These services along with a variety a tools in the training room including whirlpools, cold tubs and swim exercise machines, prove that Athletic Training is dedicated to the health of Husky student-athletes. In order to continue offering first-rate health care, staff members are involved in continuing education programs that keep them updated on the newest ways to give Husky student-athletes the best care possible.

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