Athletics Related Injury & Illness - USA Athletics Scholarships

Athletics Related Injury & Illness

To go four years and twelve seasons without picking up any injuries or illness would be an achievement in itself. Whilst this can happen if you look after yourself and also get a bit of good fortune, chances are that you will eventually develop some kind of injury or illness that requires treatment.

The Training Room

For most sport related injuries, you will be able to receive free treatment from the athletics department training room.  These training rooms are staffed by qualified ‘athletic trainers,’ whose job it is to look after athletes and provide treatment on request. Whilst the facilities in training rooms are obviously going to vary from school to school, in our experiences most of them are usually pretty good. Typically they will be equipped with ice baths, hot tubs, massage tables, treadmills and other gym equipment, as well as all kinds of medical supplies. The best training rooms will even have anti gravity treadmills (Alter-G’s).

A typical college training room

Athletic Trainers –hit or miss

Whilst the facilities are usually pretty good, what can vary is the quality of the athletic training staff. The best ones are very good. They will show an interest in how you are doing, be willing and competent enough to help you, and make further treatment arrangements if necessary.

Unfortunately not all athletics trainers are so helpful. Quite a common complaint from athletes outside of the football and basketball teams is that the athletics trainers couldn’t appear to care less and seem entirely disinterested. These athletics trainers will be reluctant to assist you, will say they are busy when you ask for help, and just generally seem as if they only care about what the star quarterback is up to.

Obviously this is not an ideal situation, but it is something we all experienced and is definitely worth being aware of from the outset. Your best bet is probably to ask the coaches which trainers they would recommend and then stick to that one. Depending on team budget, it may be possible for the coach to send you to receive treatment off campus at a private clinic (physiotherapy, masseuse, chiropractor etc).

Medical Redshirt

From a regulatory standpoint, the NCAA does have space in the rules regarding injury and eligibility. If an athlete can prove that they were injured for all or the majority of a season then a ‘hardship waiver’ can be granted. It is known as a ‘medical redshirt’ and is considered the same as a normal redshirt, where the athlete is deemed not to have competed.

If a redshirt had been taken previously and then a medical redshirt is taken later on during an athlete’s collegiate career, then it could be possible to extend the five year window to a sixth year. This is quite rare and you would have to be very unlucky to first redshirt, and then get injured for the entirety of a subsequent season.


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