Several club sports teams including water polo, ultimate Frisbee, equestrian, lacrosse and hockey will now have access to athletic training services, a resource that club athletes have been requesting for years.  

“I’m just really happy they finally did it,” said Bowdoin Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Captain Ana Leon ’16. In the past, club athletes have struggled to find treatment on their own for injuries and have been forced to pay for rehabilitation services out of pocket.

According to Nate Hintze, director of student activities, this change was brought about largely because of the College’s increasing concern over concussions. 

Access to training services means that club athletes in these sports will undergo the concussion testing and screening that is standard for varsity athletes. When Leon experienced a concussion playing ultimate, the trainers were unable to work with her in part because she hadn’t completed the baseline impact testing for comparison. 

“I never fully understood how you can give such good concussion care to certain students and not to others,” Leon said. “I mean, we’re representing Bowdoin, so it would be nice to have that [care].”

Director of Athletic Training Dan Davies explained that although there won’t be a specific trainer devoted to club teams—as is the case with varsity sports—club athletes will have access to the training room in Farley Field House where they can work with a trainer when one is available. An additional full-time trainer—Morgan Ruetty—was hired this year as well. 
Long-term treatment for injuries will continue to be conducted at Orthopedic Associates, an independent physical therapy center located in Brunswick Station. 

In previous years, injured club athletes faced exclusion from the training center resources, even from some as simple as an ice pack. 

“Since we are playing a sport where a lot of injuries do happen, it’s a little bit scary that we didn’t have access to [the trainers],” said Bowdoin Water Polo Captain Chase Hodge ’16. 
Caroline Coles ’16, the captain of the equestrian team, was injured her first year when she fell off a horse during a competition. Due to her status as a club athlete, she had to work with Health Services rather than with a trainer during her recovery.

“Club sports have just as much of a risk of injury as any other sport on campus,” Coles said. 
For Bowdoin Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Captain Alex Roche ’16, access to trainers is just another step towards legitimacy for club sports at Bowdoin. 

“Contrary to popular belief, [ultimate] is a pretty physically demanding sport and injuries do happen, so it’s nice to now know that we have access to the trainers,” Roche said. “It’s sort of part of a bigger struggle for the team to become a more legitimate sport both in the eyes of the community and the athletics department.” 

While trainer access was extended to some groups, others, such as alpine skiing, cheerleading, dance groups and jiu-jitsu, still do not.