Athletics & Recreation / Magazine Feature

Sports Medicine keeps athletes on their skis, skates and sneakers

December could have started out better for the University of Denver hockey defenseman and senior captain Adrian Veideman. 

On Dec. 2, in a heated game against rival Colorado College, he collided with an opponent, slammed into the ice and was carried away on a stretcher. The result: a severe concussion.

Injuries and athletes — an unfortunate but all too common marriage in collegiate sports. Clearly a pain for athletes, and coaches don’t care for them much either. 

“Any time one of your players is injured you begin to judge how long it’ll take to get them back on the field,” says Chad Ashton, Pioneers men’s soccer head coach. 

But that’s a problem Ashton hasn’t had to face much at DU, and it’s because of DU’s Sports Medicine department.
“They really do an excellent job,” Ashton says. “Without the department, I know we’d have to go deeper into the bench.”

Julie Campbell, Sports Medicine director, says during the sports seasons, 200–300 treatments are given each day. 

“It’s not uncommon for an athlete to report to the training room three or four times a day for treatment because they want to become healthy to return to practice and games,” Campbell says. 

Her department is treating Veideman, and she says concussion victims are closely monitored. At DU, they’re treated by team physicians and neurophysiologists who use software specifically designed to examine concussions.

While Campbell and her staff are adept at treating concussions, she says the most common injuries are ankle sprains, knee injuries, shoulder sprains and low back pain coming primarily from four sports: men’s hockey, women’s gymnastics, women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse.

One of the scariest injuries Campbell says she ever saw was when a female gymnast dislocated both knees during a vault.

Besides Campbell, Sports Medicine has four assistant athletic trainers and two certified athletic training interns. All seven are certified athletic trainers, meaning at minimum, they hold a bachelor’s degree. All five full-time DU trainers hold at least a master’s degree.

And as for Veideman, the news is good. It looks as if December will end on a better note for him. George Gwozdecky, Pioneers men’s hockey head coach, says Veideman’s headaches have subsided and DU medical staff predict he’ll be able to return to practice and competition by the end of December — just in time for the annual Wells Fargo Denver Cup tournament. 

“The trainers and medical staff have done a terrific job with Adrian, and he will return to full health and playing status because of their outstanding efforts,” Gwozdecky says.

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