For anyone who has ever visited a training room on campus, the idea of a virtual training room (V.T.R.) might be confusing at first, as a remote Zoom call cannot provide ice, tape, or foam rollers. Although not in person, the V.T.R. still provides a wide range of benefits to students, including injury prevention exercises, workout ideas, and even just the ability to chat with your favorite trainer.
According to Athletic Trainer Amy Wiggins, the trainers want to stay connected with their athletes while away from campus. Not just an opportunity to check in on athletes’ physical well-being, the V.T.R. also offers a way to continue the personal aspect of visiting the training room.
“The hope and goal for the V.T.R. is to have a way for students to connect to the Athletic Trainers. We Athletic Trainers see many students everyday while school is in session and we want them to feel they can come and talk to us, share what is going on in their lives and connect with other students. We hope it is a way to decompress, de-stress, and relax,” wrote Wiggins in an email to The Phillipian.
According to Head Athletic Trainer Michael Kuta, one of the main limitations of the V.T.R. is that the trainers do not have a telehealth license and therefore cannot offer a virtual diagnosis. The trainers can, however, provide assistance through the injury prevention exercises available to all students via the Instagram handle @andover_atc.
Kuta said, “We can give ‘armchair advice’ and generally advise kids, but in these times we’re restricted by licensing and telehealth. We can still help to support and advise kids, and as a product of the virtual training room, we’ve started an injury prevention series. We’re focusing on different types of injuries and how to prevent them while kids are doing their preseason conditioning programs. We try to post one or two exercises every day on Instagram and then after a week or so, you have a full series of the program.”
According to Emily Hardy ’20, a frequent visitor to the training room as well as the V.T.R., the trainers have suggested new workout ideas to switch up her routine.
In an email to The Phillipian, Hardy wrote, “The trainers can give suggestions about a workout plan, and they can give students some new workouts to try. Because we have been in quarantine for a while, I started to get tired of doing the same workouts and exercises every week. The trainers gave me some exercises that would change up my workouts, and that has been helpful so I don’t end up doing the same thing every week.”
The V.T.R. is open on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. According to Athletic Training Fellow Devin O’Reilly, the virtual platform offers a new level of flexibility to the athletic training program. Students can set up individual meetings if they are not able to make the designated time slots.
O’Reilly said, “We’re open from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, but I’ve seen a lot of engagement from students who can’t make those times. We’re always open for emails or separate Zoom calls or FaceTimes. Our numbers within the open Zoom time are steady, but I would say that since we’ve opened the portal time, a lot of students come with questions right before or right after, with more questions via email or by setting up another time slot.”