The Bastyr University Sports Medicine Club spent three days treating youth volleyball players at the Emerald City Classic May 25-27 in Seattle.
One thing they learned: Young female athletes play hard.
Diving, sliding, leaping, blocking — many athletes played through pain to support their club teams and catch the eye of college scouts. Bastyr students of naturopathic medicine offered them athletic and kinesiologytaping, stretching and a professional listening ear.
More than 600 athletes stopped at Bastyr's treatment area. It's the fourth year the club has helped at the tournament, and each time they find more demand.
"Every time we go, we build more and more of a relationship with the girls and their parents and the organizers," says club co-captain Erica Joseph, a fourth-year student of naturopathic medicine. "They've been so happy with our care that they keep asking us to come back."
The club provided icing and massage, checked range of movement, assessed injuries and provided taping to prevent future injuries. Some three-quarters of athletes required taping for ankle sprains. Students received supervision from Calvin Kwan, ND, a clinical resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health. They also received a visit from former club supervisor Masahiro Takakura, ND (’02), LAc, DC, who is now assistant athletic trainer for the Seattle Mariners.
The high volume of patients gave students valuable experience in a fast-paced setting, says Joseph, who organized the club's role with captain Andrew Simon. The three-day tournament also lets athletes check in throughout the weekend for ongoing treatment.
"They come back and say, 'We just won our game. It felt great. Thank you!'" says Joseph. "That's the best part."