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          Contend and mend

          Athletes part of growing sports medicine minor

          Greg Meyer

          Issue date: 4/9/10 Section: Sports
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          Over the past several years, there has been a general increase in the quality of varsity athletic teams at CWRU.

          We have seen the football team go from perennial losers to consistent conference champs and playoff contenders. We have a men's soccer team who is on the brink of the playoffs each year, a volleyball team who was a contender up until the very end this past season, a national champion wrestler this year for the first time since 1996, and a national champion cross country runner in 2008.

          While the dedication and hard work of the student athletes and coaches cannot be discounted, neither can the work of those who keep them healthy. Not only full-time trainers Susan Higgins, Erin Lake, and Chris Shenberger, but also the sports medicine minors who act as student trainers for all varsity sports.

          The sports medicine minor at CWRU is probably one of the most unique in the country. While it is modeled after Athletic training majors at other institutions, it is not accredited by an athletic training agency, meaning it is not restricted by the proficiency requirements and tests set forth by the accreditation.

          "We aren't a full program, and we don't want to be," said Higgins, the head athletic trainer. "We realize that most students here are going on to medical degrees and do not ultimately want to be athletic trainers."

          That means Higgins and the rest of the instructors are able to mold courses to fit students' specific interests. It also means a much more diverse group - most students are in different majors, as opposed to every student being a sports medicine major at other institutions.

          "For me, the program [allows] me to get a look at the physical, psychological, and professional side of medicine," said junior biomedical engineering major William Qaqish.

          Qaqish cites the hands-on experience as the thing that really drew him to pick-up the minor.

          Senior Kayla Imbrogno agrees: "The courses are very hands-on, so the material is not something you just learn and forget after the exams. A sports medicine student uses the learned skills almost every day in the training room."
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