Ointment, sweat and sweaty socks are the fragrant ambience of the Athletic Training Center, but care and healing flourish.
Two college trainers and six different student trainers serve almost 500 student athletes who make an estimated 2,400 annual visits. They dispense tubs of ointment, miles of tape and volumes of advice.
Soccer player Edgar Garcia said he is a fan.
“I feel like I can count on the student trainers,” he said. “They are friendly and reliable and even taping that might not be a big deal but it can help you prevent future injuries.”
His teammate Javier Osuna agreed.
“They help by giving exercises to help you recover and they give you therapy that gives you the strength so that you can be closer to the level that you were, before you got injured,” he said.
Trainer Denis Petrucci has worked at SWC for 10 years. He became interested in training when he pulled his hamstring while running track in high school.
“It was like a light bulb went off,” he said. “I was trying to rehabilitate myself, but I realized that if I could not continue with my athletic career, that I wanted to become an athletic trainer.”
Petrucci’s colleague Stacy Struble is a certified athletic trainer with 25 years of experience in sports medicine and outpatient physical therapy. She has worked with athletes from youth sports to the Olympics.
“People are trusting us with their injuries and careers,” she said. “We have to build a relationship with the student-athletes so they understand we are here to take care of them and do whatever we can to keep them safe and to help them return to play if they do get injured.”
Student trainer Frank Foster said the Athletic Training Center is a great place to learn.
“SWC really prepares you for universities,” he said. “We have great facilities and good staff members that teach you what to know before moving forward.”
Student trainer Edith Herrera transferred from SWC to SDSU, then returned for a student teaching assignment.
“The first year I was assigned at SDSU and for the second year I got to request (a college) so I picked Southwestern,” she said. “I heard really good things about the whole facility and the students at SWC.”
Herrera worked through SWC’s kinesiology program which includes anatomy, physiology and biology classes to prepare for real life situations.
“I took group exercise class, then I also took the prevention of athletic injuries and health classes,” she said. “I got the Associate’s degree in kinesiology and then I transferred to San Diego State.”
Soccer player Stephany Perez said she felt well-taken care of by trainers.
“I had a minor ankle injury during the first games, I got kicked in my ankle and it was swollen,” she said. “I really liked how Stacy and the trainers took care of me. They made me do some stretching and exercises and gave me an ankle boot for support. For the next couple of games they kept wrapping my ankle to make sure it would not get hurt again.”
Former volleyball player Aries Vergara agreed.
“They showed me how to stretch the areas that I could possibly get injured and they told us that our injuries could get worse if we tape them the wrong way,” she said. “They also offer us ice after games and tape us if we get injured.”
Heat and ice are essential to the SWC training room, Petrucci said, something William Shakespeare was on to in the 1500s.
“What wound did ever heal but by degrees.”