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Ventura College’s On-Campus Athletic Training During the Pandemic

The athletic department at Ventura College pushed to open doors to its campus in order put its players back to work.

At Palomar, there have been numerous plans to slow the spread of COVID-19 on sports teams, but many of these plans were attempted and failed. Ventura College, however, is open to athletes, students and staff alike. This raises the question: how are its athletes training?

Tyler Hickok, an athletic trainer at Ventura College, proudly states that the athletics department began the process of bringing students and staff back to campus. Since March, Ventura’s athletic trainers were conducting Zoom meetings to brainstorm how to get teams practicing again.

Their grand solution was an app, the Healthy Roster, which was created to help athletic trainers better care for their athletes with helpful tools and information.

Before a student can walk onto campus, they must answer 14 questions to determine whether they are a possible candidate of the feared disease. For test results, if you are given a yellow light, you receive a wristband and are allowed on campus. If given a red light, the Student Health Center will call to discuss your answers and make a final decision. A great number of protocols are administered in order to help keep students safe.

When asked about the COVID-19 obligations for teams and coaches, Hickok lists various conditions that help reduce cross-contamination between players and teams alike. Since there is a limited number of trainers, Hickok is mainly supervising the football department, the Ventura College Pirates.

Football players must arrive to practice with a face mask on and place their belongings in socially-distanced marked areas around the field. Along with distanced water boys to take the catered water, everyone is required to bring their own water bottle and clean before use.

During weightlifting exercises in the training room, all equipment must be cleaned after use. Once the workout is completed, the room goes through a deep cleaning process.

The Pirates are allowed into the weight training room with the exception of only four persons in at a time, consisting of two athletes and two coaches. Following along with this pattern of numbered groups, Ventura’s football team has a number of 50 players and only three coaches are permitted, athletes being placed in groups of nine with one coach per group.

In order to keep teams together to prevent cross-contamination, each individual team has been given different routes to leave campus. Canopies are spread all around, providing many necessities such as water, hand sanitizer, first aid, gloves, resting areas and more.

Hickok specified that training has only consisted of conditioning. Masks are worn throughout practice while on the field and in the weight training room, yet an exception is made when aerobics comes to play in their workouts. Practice has been held twice a week for two hours.

Hickok claims he has noticed a great shift in the mental states of his athletes. During lockdown, their student health center received more calls than ever before. Mental health was affected more when communication was only through Zoom.

Now that athletes are back on campus and exercising to their greatest potential with all the needed equipment, Hickok has noticed athletes and students alike are much happier.

“Athletes take challenges head on,” he said.

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