McDaniel sports medicine

(photo courtesy of Kenny Benson)

Sports and injuries often come hand in hand. For this reason, each school does what they can to get a top notch Sports Medicine staff in order to keep their athletes on the field.

The Sports Medicine staff at McDaniel has a combined forty years of experience at the collegiate level and includes six members, including full time athletic trainers Gregg Nibbelink, Catharine Behrenshausen, Zach Rhoten, and graduate assistants Hollyann Wettstein and Regan Allsop. The staff also includes Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Sam Matz.

Sports medicine is available to all athletes at McDaniel. Athletes who have sustained injuries can be found doing rehabilitation exercises or working directly with the staff, and athletes who have not sustained injuries can be found taking ice baths or stretching out their muscles.

Junior Education major and Men’s Lacrosse player Vincent Lennon tore his ACL during the first lacrosse practice of his freshman year, and has since been in and out of the Sports Medicine room due to his injury. In this time, he has become very familiar with the staff and how the sports medicine room operates.

“All of the athletic trainers have been  super helpful to me, and you can tell they really know what they’re doing. There have been lots of times when I didn’t want to go to my PT (physical therapy) but I always feel better after going because I know the exercises that I do are the reason that I am now able to get back on the field and play Lacrosse with my friends.”

Sophomore and field hockey athlete Emma Legacy spent time in the Sports Medicine room this fall treating a sprained ankle that she received during a practice. “I spent most of my time working with Catharine. It is easy to schedule and I’m only there for thirty minutes to an hour three times a week. The exercises are not too difficult, so I usually enjoy going.” 

In an interview with Behrenshausen, Rhoten, and Wrettstein, the staff estimated that about seventy-five percent of student athletes at McDaniel visit the trainer throughout their season. This is a large number, and the sports medicine staff is faced with aiding not only the physical damage to the athletes, but sometimes mental damage also. Many athletes can become down and out when they sustain an injury. 

“We acknowledge that we are the first line of defense. Before an athlete goes to the Wellness Center to get help, it’s us who they will tell that they are having a bad day,” said assistant athletic trainer Catharine Behrenshausen.  “We are not certified mental health professionals, but what we can do is recognize what is happening and refer the athlete to someone who can help them.”

The sports medicine group at McDaniel is a small team that is poised with a big task. Being responsible for the physical and mental health of hundreds of student athletes can present lots of pressure, but through teamwork and group organization the McDaniel sports medicine staff is able to keep athletes on the field.