Editorial: The unjust strain on athletic trainers

Elizabeth Kaiser graphic

Elizabeth Kaiser graphic

Athletes at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville are offered very solid facilities, an impressive coaching staff and talented peers, yet they lack the support they need in the training room, which holds many of them back.

For years, the UW-Platteville training room has had a woefully small staff in the training room, and it causes problems for student athletes, campus club athletes and the trainers themselves. The four trainers on staff are skilled at what they do, but they have their work cut out for them, dealing with every official school sport at the university. This quickly stretches the trainers thin, and causes a number of problems for all involved.

Too many athletes to treat per trainer can be a risk for our student-athletes’ health.

“Our trainers are stressed out and stretched thin. If they had to do a touch more work, things would start falling through the cracks,” an anonymous member of the athletic faculty said.

The training faculty have more or less dealt with that, by making a point of only assisting those athletes in official school sports.  However, that leaves many athletes on school club teams dangerously high and dry.  

UW-Whitewater has arguably the best athletic program in the UW system, with the exception of maybe UW-Madison. They have great facilities, a great staff and a lot of money rolling in, and that helps them greatly.  But a very big factor in that is the fact that they have a trainer for every active school sport, plus quite a few extra trainers for club sports and auxiliary work.  Their student athletes, both school sponsored and otherwise, feel safe.  The school came up with the money to have a well-stocked and staffed training room, and because of this their athletes are able to comfortably pursue their passions without the worry of being unable to treat their injuries.

With an extremely similar tuition cost to UW-Platteville, UW-Whitewater is able to provide all of their athletes, club or school sponsored, the safety and security of an athletic environment with minimal risk of legitimate danger.  They do have many more donations to athletics than UW-Platteville, that’s true, but those donations go directly to equipment and facilities, not to staff salaries.

The hiring of even one more trainer at UW-Platteville would make huge strides toward ensuring our students are comfortable athletically.  We’ve had several very strong athletes over the years transfer to UW-Whitewater for the exact reason that they have a staff of trainers that can help on a more personal level.  One more trainer would be a step in the right direction. One more trainer could convince those talented athletes to stay, and when talented athletes stay, the renown and promise of an athletic program can only increase. If the UW-Platteville administration invests a small amount of money into ensuring our student athletes have the training staff they need, the entire program will improve. 

Our trainers do a phenomenal job, but they’d be able to do even greater things if they had another few shoulders to carry the weight of the entire athletic program at UW-Platteville. Those four hard working trainers deserve better, our student athletes deserve better and our club athletes deserve to be able to walk into a training room and ask if their heads are okay. It isn’t a tall order to ask, it isn’t an impossible task.  All this administration needs to do is hire another trainer or two.