The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

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    Referendum Funds New Trainer

    Last year’s athletics fee referendum has allowed the athletic training department to add a new full-time trainer, and get more UCSD athletes back to their teams. (Will Parson/Guardian)

    Upon first walking into the UCSD sports medicine department,
    the crowded training room filled with rehabilitating athletes does not seem to
    be any more productive than it was a year ago before the athletics fee
    referendum was passed. The room is still jam-packed with a small handful of
    athletic trainers helping players representing UCSD’s 23 varsity sports teams.
    On this particular day, a baseball player scuttles across the room pushing a
    stool with his foot as part of a lower-body rehab workout while a water polo
    player lies on on a training table getting her knee examined.

    With so many athletes seeking treatment in a relatively
    confined space, it would appear that the athletics fee referendum money did not
    boost the athletic training department. Nothing could be further from the
    truth. The fact that so many athletes are in the training room every day speaks
    volumes to the increased productivity that the referendum money has allowed the
    department. So many athletes have entered the bottom level of RIMAC Arena for
    medical treatment this year mostly because the referendum has allowed the
    department to hire a new athletic trainer.

    After the referendum passed last year, head athletics
    trainer Kevin Messey’s department was given enough money to bring on one new staff
    member. In July, Messey and his department hired Vanessa Yang to be their new
    certified athletic trainer and she started up with the current staff in August
    just as many sports teams were kicking off their fall seasons. Yang’s presence
    was felt immediately in the department.

    “It has been tremendous,” Messey said. “We have been able to
    handle a lot more athletes and we’ve been able to treat more people and do more
    hands-on training.”

    According to Messey, having one more certified athletic
    trainer has boosted the number of athletes that his staff can treat while
    allowing each athlete to get more personal treatment. The department’s
    increased productivity is evident in a comparison of the number of athletes
    treated before and after the referendum. This past October, traditionally one
    of the year’s busiest months, Messey and his staff were able to treat 1,320
    athletes, compared to only 950 in October 2006.

    “[Before the referendum, we had] been overworked and unable
    to handle as many athletes,” Messey said. “In the past an athlete would come in
    to do a treatment or to get healthy and we would be swamped and wouldn’t have
    time to treat them. What we’re doing is getting closer to the athletes and
    giving them the attention that they need to get healthy and perform out on the

    The sports medicine department aims not only to help Triton
    athletes’ futures, but also to get injured players back in action as quickly as

    “There’s a direct correlation [between what we do and the
    success of the teams],” Messey said. “If your star basketball player is hurt
    and I have time to call the doctor and get them their X-rays and get them
    cleared to play in less than five days, then ultimately we have our star player
    back on the court, which ultimately gets us a significant chance to win again.
    And that happens every day: we evaluate injuries every day and we return people
    to play every day.”

    Sophomore Alexia Zatarain, a midfielder for the UCSD women’s
    soccer team, has had injuries both before and after the passing of the
    referendum and has noticed the increased productivity of the athletic training

    “Everyone is always willing to make time for me to come in
    and get treatment,” Zatarain said. “I sprained my ankle in October, which was
    during season, and the athletic trainers helped me get back on the field in a
    week, and even though it’s still bothering me now, they are using great rehab
    programs to help me.”

    With the hiring of Yang, the sports medicine staff now
    stands at three full-time trainers in Messey, Yang and Tosh Tepraseuth, and two
    part-time trainers, Doug Bauman and Brittany Bingham.

    “I handle a lot of the administration work and adding staff
    helps me to work with others on insurance coverage, risk management, reduction
    of liability and scheduling staff to comply with NCAA and division rules,”
    Messey said. “They are all very essential to the success of the sports medicine
    team and the intercollegiate athletic department.”

    As the effects of the athletics fee referendum become more
    apparent, Messey hopes that his staff will continue to grow. The Triton sports
    program has reached new heights during the 2007-08 season with teams producing
    All-Americans and national rankings. Messey and his staff do not claim credit
    for these athletic achievements, but deserve ample respect and recognition for
    their role in helping win championships, one that has been made easier by last
    year’s athletics fee referendum.

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