College bolsters sports medicine staff, looks to expand space
By Daniel Bornstein And Claire Groden, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, August 17, 2012
Dartmouth has recently added two medical personnel and two athletic trainers to its sports medicine staff in accordance with the recommendations of last year’s external review of the College’s health services.
Dartmouth has recently added two medical personnel and two athletic trainers to its sports medicine staff in accordance with the recommendations of last year’s external review of the College’s health services, according to Drew Galbraith, senior associate athletic director for peak performance. The College is also identifying ways to centralize and expand the physical space for sports medicine as the second major outcome of the review, Galbraith said.
“By hiring two new trainers, we were able to reduce the student-to-trainer ratio and eliminate situations where trainers had teams in back-to-back seasons,” Galbraith said.
The new additions will be particularly crucial in dealing with the overlap between the fall teams’ postseason training schedule and the beginning of the winter season, according to Health Services Director Jack Turco.
“That stretches everyone thin and increasing the number of trainers from nine to 11 will make it easier to cover teams during the overlap,” Turco said.
Charlie Carr will become the director of sports medicine, to whom all trainers report. Kris Karlson will join the staff as a sports medicine physician and will be dealing with muscle and ligament injuries that require rehabilitation. Peter Tryon will be the athletic trainer for men’s soccer, men’s skiing and baseball. Yuriko Fujioka will work with men’s and women’s cross-country and women’s basketball. The current training staff covers the other Big Green teams.
Each athletic trainer typically works with two or three teams, with some overlap when one trainer is traveling with a team, Galbraith said.
Turco said that former President Jim Yong Kim’s strong support for athletics helped the department avoid any major cuts to sports medicine resources in the wake of the College’s $100-million budget deficit. He also credited Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson with securing the funding necessary to hire the four additional staff in sports medicine.
Frank Wang ’88, the head team physician for Harvard University athletics, provided the expertise for the external review’s section on sports medicine, Turco said. The review process also covered mental health and general health issues at the College, according to Turco.
For facilities, the Athletic Department currently maintains “satellite training rooms,” scattered across the campus athletic complexes, which is not the optimal arrangement, Galbraith said.
The Athletic Department and Health Services are currently considering the possibility of creating larger training rooms where the sports medicine staff can work together, which may be realized within the next two years, Galbraith said. This would ideally involve not just an expansion of the current training rooms inside Davis Varsity House, but the construction of an entirely new facility near Scully-Fahey Field — creating two “hubs” for the sports medicine program, Turco said.
“The biggest area we need to put time and effort into is the facility part,” Turco said. “We need to improve and expand space dedicated to sports medicine.”
Dartmouth’s sports medicine staff reports directly to the health services director, whereas at most Ivy League universities they report to the athletic director, Turco said.
“One of the main benefits is giving them autonomy as medical professionals and providing a reporting structure where they can be evaluated by other medical professionals,” Galbraith said. “In addition, there is clarity in the way in which medical records are handled.”
The Ivy League has been at the forefront of the discussion on preventing sports-related head injuries — an issue that has generated increasing national attention as the National Football League has witnessed some egregious cases of such injuries in recent years.
Kim was the co-chair of a committee tasked with investigating how Ivy League universities could take steps to limit concussions among football players. Among the recommendations — which were officially accepted by the Ancient Eight’s presidents last July — was a cap on the number of full-pad practices, better education on proper tackling technique and stricter reviews of helmet-to-helmet hits, according to a press release from the Ivy League website.
“[The committee] put into writing what most schools were already moving toward,” Dartmouth’s head athletic trainer Jeff Frechette said.
In June, the Ivy League and the Big Ten conference launched a research partnership to study head injuries across all sports, using their schools’ own athletes as participants in the study.
“The big problem with concussion research in the past is you end up looking at people who suffer a concussion, but you never know what they were like before they experienced a concussion,” Dennis Molfese, the director of the center for brain, biology and behavior at the University of Nebraska, said. “It’s quite unique to be able to track large groups of individuals over time, knowing what their state was before they experienced the concussion.”