Nov 11, 2020
Athletic Trainers on the Front Lines for Fullerton College

Athletics on the campus of Fullerton College in California have been on hold through this point of the academic school year, but with the help of its athletic trainers, sports a preparing to return soon.

According to a recent article in The Hornet, the college’s student-run newspaper, the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) plans for most fall and spring teams to play in one of two seasons this spring, assuming everything goes according to plan. Traditional fall sports are scheduled to play from February to April with the spring season being extended later in the year, from March to May.

athletic trainers
Photo: Penn State News / Creative Commons

To ensure that Fullerton’s student-athletes have the highest level of health and safety in training and competition, the college has turned to its athletic training staff.

From compiling an extensive screening process in which all student-athletes must participate to be allowed in conditioning sessions to upholding other best practices, the athletic training staff of Fullerton has become the first line of defense in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on campus.

“I am confident [the college has] a plan which will address all of the challenges associated with COVID-19 and when the right time comes, we will be ready … Athletics will return but with such uncertainty about the trajectory of the pandemic within society there is no specific timeline for when it will be safe to return at this time,” Lorena Tarnay, Fullerton College’s co-head athletic trainer, told The Hornet.

The screening and safety protocols include contact tracing measures and maintaining social distancing parameters at all times on campus. There is also a requirement for facial coverings at all times except when conditioning as well as no sharing of equipment.

“Social distancing is achieved by dividing the teams into ‘pods’ of 10 or fewer student-athletes each. These pods participate in contactless, socially distanced athletic conditioning activities. Teams are not scrimmaging or conducting drills that require students to share equipment,” said a campus-wide “COVID-19 weekly update” email distributed by Fullerton College, according to The Hornet.

All athletic coaches, administrators, and athletes have been educated and tested on important information about COVID-19. According to Tarnay both coaches and administrators had to complete an online course as well as a certificate of completion of the course. Student-athletes are responsible for completing and submitting a daily COVID-19 symptom checklist prior to arriving on campus, The Hornet reported.

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When student-athletes arrive on campus for conditioning, athletic trainers execute a temperature check of each individual and certify that they completed their daily COVID-19 symptom checklist. They then provide each individual with a wristband which certifies that they have checked in and allow each individual to proceed to their conditioning session.

“I have had the pleasure of being on a COVID-19 Action Team made up of 40+ community college athletic trainers across the state … The pandemic and its impact on Athletics have provided multiple challenges and are ever-changing so we have tried to address issues as they come up,” Tarnay told The Hornet, regarding the preparation that has taken place in order to get athletic activities up and running on campus.

To read the full story from The Hornet on Fullerton College’s actions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, click here

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