COD sports: A look at athletic training and sports medicine

By Jonathan Saenz

Sports Editor

COD Sports Medicine Center

Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Saenz

College of the Desert’s athletic training and sports medicine program is ideal for students seeking a career in physical education, athletic training, sports medicine or exercise science. This program plays an important role in supporting COD athletics. With certified athletic trainers and staff on board, the program helps COD athletes with injuries, treatment, rehab and evaluations.

Todd Conger and Valerie Calderon are staff athletic trainers in charge of the program. Conger has been an athletic trainer with COD’s sports medicine program for five years. Calderon joined the program in January 2017.

According to Calderon, a typical day for student athletic trainers would be to “make sure the athletic training room is ready to go for the athletes.” The students must learn how tape for different sports. Calderon said, “they need to know how to do this in order to treat our athletes properly.”

The program is not in full operation according to Calderon, “by fall it should be up and running.” The program is looking to integrate a number of related classes. “[There’s] going to be athletic training 1, athletic training 2, kinesiology classes, and we’re hoping to get a nutrition class with that.” said Calderon. He hopes the program will expand to better assist COD athletes.

At the moment, Calderon says the athletic training and sports medicine program is understaffed. “Right now we only have four students so we need all hands on deck.” The staff is outnumbered this season when it comes to the athletes, they have to look over “80 football players, 40 soccer guys and 25 soccer girls.” That is a lot of injuries to keep tabs on.

As far as injury protocols go, Conger says “before they start their season they do baseline exams. So, we know where they should be, before the injury.” This technique allows the athletic trainers to have a reference point on the athlete’s health. Baseline exams include the athlete’s “medical history, height, weight, [and] blood pressure.” says Conger. The athletes even have to under go a “neurocognitive computer exam followed by a balance test.” says Conger. These exams are essential for concussion protocol. “Once we suspect a concussion they’re out, they can’t return to play that day.” Conger continued.

Alina Delgado is a current student athletic trainer for the program. She wants to let any COD students who are interest in joining that “it’s very hands-on and it’s a good learning experience to start off before you go somewhere else if you’re looking to major in [a related study],” says Delgado.

COD students who are looking to become apart of the program can contact Conger or Calderon through, click on the “inside athletics” tab and their contact information is under “sports medicine.” “Send us an email, call us, come visit us, we’re more than happy to talk to anybody.” says Conger.

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