By Brandon Pereira, Class of 2018
With hopes of returning to the soccer field for the fall season from his injury, sophomore business management major Ezequiel Cei continuously goes through his rehabilitation process in the St. Peter’s sports medicine room.
Cei suffered an almost career ending ACL tear in his right knee at an away game on October 14, 2015 at Monmouth University.
“It was the worst moment in my life,” said Cei. “I truly believed that I would never be able to play again, which is my biggest fear.”
Cei knew that his road back to a soccer field would require massive amounts of rehab with the trainers provided by St Peter’s. At the time of his injury, trainer Kevin Sze was the trainer assigned to the men’s soccer team; however, Sze has since left and found a new job elsewhere, which leaves only two full-time physical trainers in the school.
“With the lack of trainers, most of the people injured do not know where we stand in our rehab process,” said Cei. “Since there are so many athletes for only two trainers, it’s tough to get their full attention.”
This seems to be a problem throughout the athletic department.
Cei is not the only person who was affected by an ACL tear this past season. Colin Covello, a junior political science major who is also part of the soccer team, was also injured late on in the season.
“I feel bad because they both get a bad reputation for covering nearly 300 athletes between them,” said Covelo. “Almost every other school that I can think of has more than one trainer per team, so each athlete can be paid the attention they need and not fight for attention.”
Covello says the lack of trainers does not allow the athletes to fully recover as they are not truly aware where they stand at times in their rehab process.
To put things into perspective, Monmouth University, one of the most successful soccer teams in the MAAC conference has nine athletic trainers and three doctors, which is more than enough of trainers for teams that are in season.
Having more trainers means more flexibility and can mean less risk for injuries.Some athletes even believe that this increases time for rehabilitation. Tom Puza, a sophomore on the baseball team, believes that only having two trainers slows the rehab process of student-athletes.
“A trainer’s job is to rehabilitate the athlete while trying to get them back on the field as soon as possible,” said Puza. “This is impossible while only having two trainers and over a couple of hundred of athletes.”
According to the MAAC conference website, when searching the sports medicine staff it appears most of the school’s in the conference have five or more trainers. The school’s include Quinnipiac University, Monmouth University, Fairfield University, Marist College, and Rider University. . With only four or five teams playing in-season at a time , this would allow every team to get their own trainer in season. This would allow trainers to focus on one team at a time and give everyone the attention they deserve.
The athletic budget may be one reason why St. Peter’s University lacks trainers. The bigger the budget the more money you can spend on athletic trainers and other services.
According to the The Equity in Athletics Data Analysis for the year 2014-2015, the school with the largest budget was Quinnipiac at $24,224,911, followed by Monmouth with $19,629,472, Fairfield University with $17,793,465, Marist College with $13,407,883, Rider with $12,627,530, Siena College with $12,455,465, Manhattan College with $11,582,995, Canisius College with $11,578,886, Iona College with $11,238,783, Niagara University with $10,176,175, and lastly St. Peter’s University with $7,083,566.
The number of trainers seems to correlate with the school’s budget.
Quinnipiac University has ten athletic trainers along with one physical therapist and 5 graduate assistant trainers. According to the Quinnipiac University sports medicine staff directory, out of the 10 athletic trainers, only three are assigned to two teams; however, the three trainers assigned to multiple teams are assigned to two different seasonal teams. One of the trainers is assigned to men’s soccer, which is fall sport, and then women’s lacrosse, which is a spring sport.
At St. Peter’s University, with a third of Quinnipiac’s budget, the school can only afford to have two full-time athletic trainers. This, according to athletes, has a detrimental affect to the health and rehabilitation of injured players.
Christopher Stragapede, a junior sports management major, also tore his ACL in the fall season; however, his diagnosis came a little later. Since Stragapede’s diagnosis came at the end of the season, the athletic trainers were already focused on the upcoming season’s teams.
“If there were more trainers it would have been dealt with quicker and been done sooner so I could get back in time for the fall, now that hope is in the air,” said Stragapede. “Now we still need to rehab everyday but get less attention as the two trainers are obviously more focused on the in-season teams.”
Mamadou Ndiaye, a freshman on the men’s basketball team, has experienced a very busy training room in his first year playing at the collegiate level.
“It gets a bit hectic in the training room at times,” said Ndiaye. “There is just way too many of us for the trainers to deal with.”
St.Peter’s University newly hired Athletic Director, Belinda Pearman, says hiring the proper staff is on her list of priorities.
“The athletic training room facility and staffing is a primary area that i have focused on for my 2016-2017 budget ask,” said Pearman in an email interview. “The health and wellness of our athletes is of paramount to me.”