Club Sports Pavilion offers expanded athletic training space
A recent expansion of Liberty University’s Club Sports Athletic Training facility located by the LaHaye Ice Center back parking lot was completed just in time to celebrate National Athletic Training Month in March.
“We’re super-excited about it,” Club Sports Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Angie Witt said. “It’s technically called the Club Sports Pavilion, but I like to call it the Club Sports Athletic Training Clinic, because it is clinic-based. It’s a great location for us, it is convenient, and it will definitely be a good benefit for our athletes and for our staff to make sure that they get the work done.”
Formerly, the Club Sports Pavilion was divided in half between an athletic training clinic and a strength & conditioning room. Now, with a 3,600-square-foot weight room relocated to the new Club Sports Training Complex, the facility is totally devoted to athletic training. It is equipped with some state-of-the-art machinery to allow Witt and her staff of one other full-time athletic trainer and four graduate assistants to carry out their mission.
|Angie Witt serves as Liberty’s Club Sports’ Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine.|
In an unprecedented year for Witt and her staff, they have proven daily the National Athletic Training Month slogan for 2021: “Essential to Health Care.”
“We are living and working in times we did not expect, and Liberty University has done a really good job of staying open during this pandemic and giving us the things we need to make it work,” Witt said, noting that the staff has been provided all the required personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as ample assistance from Liberty’s Student Health and Wellness Department. “They have been backing us up through the process, and anytime we have a question, they have the knowledge and skill to help us.”
That has included doing the majority of the COVID-19 testing of Club Sports student-athletes in 2020-21 to ensure that they can safely represent their respective teams in practices and competition.
|Two athletic training tables in the rehabilitation area give student-athletes extra room. (Photos by Sarah Steenson)|
“Sports Medicine is a team effort and we all need each other,” Witt said. “Athletic trainers are sometimes the hub or the center of the wheel, and the spokes that go out are our physicians and physical therapists, our health and wellness department, and then coaches and our teams. We are health care professionals who strive to keep athletes healthy and we kind of keep the wheel running with communication between the coaches and following the guidelines.”
The expanded athletic training clinic is perfectly suited for injury rehabilitation and features a cardio section assessment station for student-athletes who have been affected by COVID-19 to be cleared to return to play.
|When COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, athletes will be allowed more access to the ice baths after workouts.|
“Anytime you add more space, you add more function,” Witt said. “Because we have to follow social distancing guidelines, we were only allowed about three to four athletes at a time in here during the fall. Now, we can see more athletes and do more things with them because of the extra space.”
The facility offers three completely functional tables, including one in a separate physicians’ clinic, and two tubs for icing athletes. A new elliptical machine was added to the assortment of rehabilitation equipment available for student-athletes to work with — from exercise bikes, treadmills, kettle balls and dumbbells to Bosu balance training balls, exercise bands, and a HOKA recovery boot — all spread out to provide 6 feet between stations.
“The rehab space is probably the hugest blessing because it is giving us more space to actually rehab our athletes,” Witt said. “Instead of having to work in the confines of a 10-by-10-foot space, we now have this 12-by-30-foot space that they can do different types of drills and activities to return to their sport. We have a cardio corner and then a recovery corner and a rehab corner, so we can spread that (equipment) out and be able to use it simultaneously.”
Additionally, a private physicians’ office allows for weekly or bi-weekly sessions and Witt and Assistant Director of Sports Medicine Tiffany Campbell can also meet one-on-one with student-athletes in their new private office spaces.
|A physicians’ clinic has additional tables for injury assessment and rehabilitation treatment.|
Witt also works with Club Sports team physician Dr. Mark Rolfs, a faculty member in Liberty’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Dr. Jeff Lowes, a chiropractor and professor in Liberty’s exercise science department, once a month. Additionally, exercise science professor Dr. David Titcom offers on-campus rehabilitation for student-athletes who have had surgical procedures.
“We have all of those physicians in and out of here at different times to help take care of our athletes, depending on what their needs are,” Witt said.
She also has a rotation of eight athletic training students — two from the University of Lynchburg, one from Longwood University, and five from Liberty who are either doing their practicum work or their athletic training hours through the Club Sports clinic as part of their educational requirements.
“Training future generations of athletic trainers is part of our job in advancing the profession, so we have some students getting their hands-on experience in a great facility working with our Club Sports student-athletes,” Witt said.