College athletic trainers work with a variety of summer camps

by Alyssa Jorgensen | 7/23/15 8:05pm

All summer long, herds of high school students fill College sporting facilities, dorms, dining halls and crosswalks as they participate in numerous athletic summer camps held on campus. More than 15 camps will be held on campus this summer, including the Elite Soccer Camp, Buddy Teevens Football School, Nike Volleyball Camp, Go Green Swim Camp, Bob Whalen Baseball School, Gold Medal Running Camp, Paul Cormier Basketball Camp, Iron Pine Lacrosse Camp, Elite Softball Camp and the Hansi Wiens Squash Camps, among many others.

Coaches from Dartmouth and other colleges are the organizers and facilitators behind these camps. They devote their time and effort to pour knowledge into their campers, regardless of whether campers are serious about competing for Dartmouth in the future or simply seeking more expertise in their sport. The heartbeat of these camps are the campers themselves, bringing a lively atmosphere to campus and its athletic facilities, while most of the College’s student population is off campus.

Meanwhile, the sports medicine staff — who make sure all activities run safely and dehydration-free — comprise the backbone of these camps.

On top of working long hours during the day, Dartmouth athletic trainers spend some time at night in dorms with campers to ensure that health and safety are prioritized. They keep medical histories and injury reports on all campers, act as mediators between the minors and their parents when complications or injuries occur and experience firsthand the interactions between campers and coaches.

Whether it is a concussion during a soccer drill, a broken clavicle during a lacrosse scrimmage, taping ankles for a football game or watching a camper commit to Dartmouth after camp, the sports medicine staff witnesses it all.

Athletic trainer Bethanie Brann has been working at sports camps all summer. This week, she is with the women’s soccer camp, which is hosting 181 girls, Brann said.

“Ensuring their safety is our job, and I love getting to interact with the kids and help them out, even when it requires long days and nights sometimes,” Brann said. “For some of these girls, this is their third or fourth week of camp, so they have had a couple ankle sprains, their muscles are tight, we’ve had a few concussions, cases like that. We have to make sure these things stay treated so they can keep participating and be ready for the next camp.”

Brann also walks beside the campers during their days here, and said that she thinks the camps are great experiences for prospective Dartmouth students.

“The kids get to live in the dorms and go to the dining halls and see the campus,” she said. “They get to experience Dartmouth almost like a Dartmouth student would. It’s an awesome way for them to get to know the school, the coaches and the current players.”

Athletic trainer Chad Johnson worked the Buddy Teevens Football Camp during the last week of June. Johnson said that head football coach Buddy Teevens ’79 runs a high-quality recruiting camp every summer.

“Most of the campers were recruited or invited, and there were 19 other coaches there besides the Dartmouth coaching staff, so all the kids got to be seen by many different colleges,” he said.

Johnson also commented on how amazing it was to have an up-close view of how much work the Dartmouth coaches put into their camps.

“Teevens is always on the field. He makes himself very accessible to the campers,” he said. “Coach [Keith] Clark even taught them life skills besides football skills, like how to shake someone’s hand properly and where to properly place a name tag. They really care about their campers, not just as football players, but as people.”

Athletic trainer Jean Troiano, who worked the volleyball and men’s lacrosse camps, said that the men’s lacrosse camp specifically was different this year because of the new coaching staff. Eight other college coaches joined the Dartmouth lacrosse coaches, and about 120 athletes attended the camp.

“For the lacrosse camp it was really cool watching the interactions between the coaches and the campers, because most of the campers were capable of getting recruited by the schools there,” Troiano said. “Watching them swap contact information and talk about unofficial and official visits and seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces was really awesome.”