Most universities across the nation offer club sports leagues for their students to participate in. These leagues are unique in that they are open to any enrolled student on campus and do not fall under the NCAA athletics umbrella. Additionally, usually the number of sports teams offered are greater than what is offered via NCAA. In recent years, many universities have expanded to include athletic training services for the club sports, creating new positions for athletic trainers. Within these new positions, creates a need for systems to be put in place to care for athletes.
Christina Turner joined the University of South Carolina Campus Recreation Department two years ago and began working on systems to care for head injuries.
Christina is the only full time athletic trainer on staff within the University of South Carolina Campus Recreation Department, along with two part time athletic trainers. With over 50 club sports offered on campus, the ratio of athletes to ATs skews against the athletic trainer. This puts a strain on the athletic training staff when needing to baseline test every contact and collision sport, which is approximately 800 athletes, within their department. Having a small staff also doesn’t allow for Christina or the other athletic trainers to travel with their teams, which can delay an accurate evaluation until return if an injury occurs.
At a previous position, Christina was comparing objective cognitive and balance testing platforms. She was immediately drawn to Sway because it “felt intuitive to use” for the athletes. She also said the athletes could baseline test in an “engaging and familiar, to them, way”. When joining the University of South Carolina Campus Recreation staff, she knew Sway could be a solution to their problems, and brought the platform to her new position. One reason Turner knew she could successfully implement Sway in her new role was Sway’s ease of baseline testing. The athletic training staff holds educational meetings with the officers of the teams at the beginning of the year, teaching them how to use Sway. This empowers the officers to conduct baseline testing via their team code and the athletic training staff to supervise. She says it’s easy enough to use that “even someone who has never baseline tested before can be successful”. Sway’s ease of facilitation means Christina and her staff aren’t spending weeks walking each team through complicated processes. This lessens the stress on Turner, while giving her peace of mind that her athletes are properly taken care of.
Once the teams have completed baseline testing, and are competing in season, Turner and her staff are not able to travel to away games. If an injury occurs when Turner is not with the team, the officer can call her with the suspicion of injury and that player can immediately complete a Concussion Symptoms Survey from their own phone. That player can then be held from competition with an educated decision. This allows for a more accurate full assessment when the team returns with the data produced.
Christina utilizing Sway in two different positions is largely because of Sway’s ease of use. When spending time in the hospital, where she is contracted through, she says that she shows Sway to all her colleagues, and will even quickly create a code for an athletic trainer to let them take a baseline test, so they can see for themselves how easy to use the platform is. Beyond the app, another layer of ease for Turner is Sway’s customer service, which she describes as “nothing short of excellent”. If she’s ever had a question or problem arise, the Sway team is quick to help with whatever she needs.