With approximately half of the student body playing a varsity sport, the three Bowdoin athletic trainers and two interns working out of five different locations on campus often have their hands full. According to Director of Athletic Training Dan Davies, the trainers need more help.

"There is a growing need for care," he said.

Aside from varsity athletes, the many athletes who play club sports?crew, rugby, and ultimate Frisbee, among others?also require medical support. However, because the trainers are already busy treating varsity athletes, they do not handle injured club players on a regular basis.

Official athletic trainer policy on the Bowdoin web site states that athletic training services are provided for Bowdoin varsity intercollegiate athletes and visiting intercollegiate teams. All other injured students must go to Dudley Coe Health Center.

All students are allowed to make appointments with a visiting physical therapist. Also, in a medical emergency, trainers will not discriminate between varsity and club athletes. "If a student is ever in need of immediate care...the athletic training department will be available to them," said Davies.

Although Director of Athletics Jeff Ward stressed that there is no difference in the quality of care club athletes receive, he recognized that the distinction causes hard feelings among some athletes.

"Whenever you have distinctions, there is the uncomfortable possibility that people will take that as a negative," he said.

The notion that club sports athletes are not treated as well as varsity athletes appears to permeate the Bowdoin club sports community. The Orient spoke with numerous players on the rugby, crew, and Frisbee teams, many of whom said they had had negative or frustrating experiences with athletic trainers and had also heard rumors about fellow athletes who had run into similar problems.

Dawn Riebeling '07, a member of the crew team, reported hearing about negative experiences other rowers had had with trainers. She encountered difficulty making an appointment with the trainers after a hip flexor injury.

"There is an impression that club athletes are not covered," she said.

Katie Wells '08, also a rower, said that club athletes "hope they don't get injured under the pretense that they won't be made priority No. 1."

This pretense is correct, according to Ward. When it comes to medical support, "varsity [programs] have preference over club programs," he said.

However, Ward stressed that the athletic department does not take risks with the health of its club athletes. "We want to make sure that every situation is safe," he said.

Ruth Morrison '07, captain of the women's ultimate Frisbee team, voiced her concern with the athletic trainers' prioritization of varsity athletes.

"If the issue comes down to resources needing to be prioritized to varsity, think about the implications of that decision: Certain students' health is more important than others," she said

Eric Robinson '07, captain of the men's rugby team, echoed Morrison's view.

He said that the prioritization of Bowdoin's varsity programs "shows through in field space, trainers attitudes, et cetera," and said that he would like to see more trainers available to give his team medical attention.

According to Ward, the athletic department recognizes the need for additional trainers, and included a request for another trainer in its budget next year, primarily to work with the men's rugby team.

One goal in hiring the new trainer is to provide ImPACT tests at the beginning of the season to all athletes playing contact sports. On ImPACT's web site, the test is described as "a sophisticated, research-based software tool developed to help sports-medicine clinicians evaluate recovery following concussion."

According to Davies, the goal in administering an ImPACT test before an injury is to develop "a baseline on each athlete so that when a concussion occurs you can compare the data. A baseline is not crucial to the test but it just helps with the diagnosis."

Men's rugby currently is not offered these tests prior to injury.

Robinson sustained a concussion earlier this year, and took the ImPACT test only after his injury. He said that he believes the results of the test would have been more conclusive if he had taken the test before the injury as well.

"There is no baseline to compare results...Information I would have attained as a varsity athlete I don't have," he said.

"I feel that any Bowdoin student that is out there doing any sort of college sanctioned athletic activity should have access to the trainers, no matter what sport they're doing," said Matt Murchison '07, captain of the men's ultimate frisbee team.

"If a Bowdoin student gets hurt, what more information do you need?" he asked.