Some University of Mary Washington Club athletes were miffed earlier this year regarding their lack of access to athletic trainers. In a story published earlier this semester, The Bullet reported on several UMW club athletes who were upset over perceived lack of trainer access for 21 club teams and their over 700 members.
Campus Recreation Director Mark Mermelstein set the record straight this week by pointing out the club teams’ access to Associate Director of Campus Recreation Bob Liebau, who is a certified trainer.
“The Sport Club presidents are informed of Bob [Liebau]’s qualifications and availability as a certified athletic trainer on a number of occasions throughout the academic year,” Mermelstein said. “They were again reminded this fall during our first president’s meeting and several times during the semester.
Liebau cited that 10 club athletes have come to see him with injuries this semester and stated that he is able to give “at home” options, recommendations for time off from practices, as well as advice for rehabilitation exercises.
“There is basically no difference between what I can do and what the athletic department’s athletic trainers can do for students,” Liebau said in an e-mail. “The limitations to service that I face are due to time (I am not a full-time athletic trainer) and facilities (I do not have access to the athletic department athletic training room since I am no longer in service to the athletic department).”
When senior rugby player Daniel Holcombe was informed of Liebau and his availability as a certified athletic trainer, he was surprised to learn the information.
“That’s the first I’ve ever heard about him,” Holcombe said. “[Men’s rugby] got our own trainer from outside UMW who has attended our past couple of games.”
Liebau earned his B.S. degree in Health and Physical Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, his MSED in Exercise Physiology also from Virginia Tech, and his MSED in Athletic Training from Old Dominion University. Liebau served as UMW’s Head Athletic Trainer from 1986 to 2003, when he left to take his current position as Associate Director of Campus Recreation.
Despite a possible disconnect, Mermelstein maintains that it is the job of the club presidents to alert their members of Liebau and his availability.
“It is the direct responsibility of each club’s officers to pass this information along to their membership,” Mermelstein said.
Mermelstein was also adamant that every UMW Club Sport is provided with a first aid kit for those athletes who are injured during a practice or game and need attention on the spot.
“Each Eagle Sports Club is provided with a Cramer Soft-Sided first aid kit,” Mermelstein said. “These kits are fairly standard for intercollegiate club and intramural programming. Each kit is stocked with all items necessary to carry out basic first aid in a campus setting. Bob Liebau has modified the kits he provided to varsity programs during his time as the certified athletic trainer for athletics and keyed them for the needs of our sport clubs.”
While some club athletes may still be upset with the access and some may think that the services available are not adequate, Mermelstein insists that UMW is consistent with similar programs around the country.
“Our care for our Eagle Sport Club and IM Sports participants is in line with our peers and represents the standard of care for Campus Recreation programs across the nation,” he said.