Student-Athletes Come Together. GOJASPERS/COURTESY
By Brooke DellaRocco, Staff Writer
With difficult budget cuts slashing down clubs at Manhattan College, it comes as no surprise that the athletic department is going through their battles as well.
In recent months, the athletics department has been grappling with two trainers for all of the college’s Division I sports teams. The reasoning behind the low training staff is mainly due to the difficulty in finding specific people for these roles, Athletic Director Irma Garcia mentioned.
“I’m still trying to figure out what we need now,” Garcia said. “Athletic Training is hard right now because we can’t hire anybody because there is none.”
In addition to these open positions in the athletic training area, there are also a variety of open positions spanning across the department including assistant coaches, director of facilities and assistant directors.
Not only does this severely alter the course of every athlete’s season, but there seems to be a lot of concern for the two trainers themselves trying to handle too much.
Brendan Chan, a senior at MC, has been a major part of the Men’s Cross Country team and described how this year, with his injury, has been a struggle.
“It’s hard, dividing just two people, for I think a thousand athletes all trying to get treatment,” Chan said. “It’s very difficult on them; it’s difficult on us because we want to get our treatment, but also we have very limited resources.”
Kaitlyn Holly, a senior softball player, and President of the SAAC (Student Athlete Advisory Committee), explained the importance of that trainer position and all that they do for the student body.
“Trainers are super important, they’re vital to the success of the athletes,” Holly said. “We need them for upkeep and maintenance of our bodies since we’re constantly practicing.”
Trainers not only serve as a support system for athletes but also make it possible for players to perform the best they possibly can.
“Having enough [trainers] is important because sometimes the training room can be filled with upwards of 30 athletes and there’s only two trainers, which makes it really hard to get the treatment we need in a timely manner,” Holly said. “We already have very busy schedules.”
Junior vice president of the SAAC committee Nicolette Caneda emphasized how the traffic in the training room is almost always constant.
“I would say nine out of ten athletes see the trainers, I think at least once a week,” Caneda said.
The added stress from this debacle makes a lot of the athletes question why there is such a limit on their resources this year. Additionally, there seems to be a collective worry for the athletic trainers themselves, stemming mainly from the athletes who work one-on-one with them.
Senior captain Jade Blagrove of the women’s basketball team directly expressed her concern for them.
“All the sports definitely feel that there’s limited resources for athletic trainers,” Blagrove stated. “My worry is mostly with the athletic trainers themselves because it’s very stressful for them … I hope that they’re okay and they don’t get overwhelmed or overworked and I do feel like that is the situation right now. They do their best to take care of everyone the best way they can.”
This often means exceptionally long hours for trainers, but no raise in pay, and the pressure of handling the work of at least four people by yourself can only be intimidating. Caneda mentioned that oftentimes they don’t have time to sit down and have a meal.
“I know the Athletics Department cares a lot about the trainers, but I want to make sure that the school knows that they should also be appreciated like any kind of professor, or anything like that,” Caneda said.
When this decision was originally made, the problem immediately fell into SAAC’s lap. Unfortunately, because SAAC does not have power over hiring processes, or athletic budgets, they are unable to provide any assistance to the trainers or athletes. Caneda frequently mentioned how the Athletic Director is actively working to fill these needed positions.
“We do the best that we can with what we got, and we definitely try to use our voice and fight for our other athletes and ourselves, you know, and bring it to as many people’s attention as we can,” Caneda said. “Right now that’s what’s happening but at the end of the day, we don’t hire people. We hear your concerns and we’re working to fix them. There’s only so much we can do.”
Despite this detrimental loss for athletics, the members have formed a strong comradery, having faith that the season will turn around for them. It seems there is more of a drive and increase of school spirit among them, each and everyone speaking towards playing through the pain the program feels right now.
“I do think that we’re being supported a lot by each other,” Caneda said. “I think that we have made a tight-knit community here and we’re trying to at least, with SAAC, really trying to put an emphasis on the athletes supporting the athletes. I think that at the end of the day, that really makes a difference. Having packed stands, and playing for, a team on your jersey; which is Manhattan.”
Blagrove commented on the best way to deal with this matter, mentioning, “We just have to focus on the seasons and our teams, and I think that everyone is locked in on that.”
Chan agreed with the majority, emphasizing the support that is needed to continue on and off the field or court.
As a closing remark, Caneda left with this, saying, “The people that are here, we appreciate them. Like a ton. We see the work that you’re putting in and we wouldn’t have the experience we have without you.”
With lots of odds against them, the athletics department is actively working to drive community spirit and morale, to make this season the best it can be.
“That’s the beauty about this place, or any place that you work at; that you find a way to make it work,” Garcia said.