Sounds of student-athlete chatter, whirling cold tubs and a flat-screen TV that remains perpetually tuned in to ESPN spill out of SF State’s new athletic training room and into the hallway of the gymnasium building.
The new facility shares the features of a living room and a hospital, allowing injured players to rehabilitate in comfort. Medical tables line the back wall, and the tile floor is spacious enough to accommodate a large number of athletes performing stretches and mobility exercises. Less than six months ago, those athletes would have been forced out into the hallway due to a lack of space in the old training room.
“The old training facilities were so bad that they kind of hid them from me when I first toured here,” said Athletics Director Charles Guthrie. “They were not up to par with the rest of our conference. Building championship teams requires being attractive as a program to 18- and 19-year-old athletes, and this is a step in the right direction towards being a school that players want to go to.”
Guthrie, who was instated as athletics director this past July, inherited the training room project as an inclusive aspect of the $2.1 million upgrades that were made to various parts of the athletic facilities last summer.
Head athletic trainer Bryce Schussel said he feels more prepared to deal with injuries and get recovering players back into their team’s line-ups quickly since the amenities in his department have been brought up to speed.
“It’s all about our athletes,” Schussel said. “We’re here to give them the best experience possible. We don’t have to tell anyone to come back later because we don’t have the space, and are able to get them the treatment they need when they need it. Nobody’s bumping into each other and it makes everything more smooth.”
Other additions to the athletic training space include an office for the trainers and a separate wet room that houses whirlpool bathtubs, sinks, coolers and other equipment that requires water usage.
“We used to have a lot of water everywhere,” Schussel said. “With the wet room we can kind of just say if you need to use that stuff, you can go in there. It keeps the other space dry and ready to go for whoever needs it.”
Senior wrestler Andrew Reggi has witnessed the changes to the training room throughout his time at SF State and said he is enjoying the benefits of the upgraded space as he rehabilitates from a herniated disc in his back.
“It’s pretty cool with the TV and everything,” Reggi said. “It really does make it more enjoyable to rehab.”
Schussel said that the advent of enhancements to the facilities was spurred by SF State President Leslie E. Wong’s eagerness to support the sports medicine department.
“President Wong came over and looked at the old space and saw that we weren’t adequately prepared to deal with all of our athletes’ problems,” Schussel said. “I think he likes the direction that the athletics program is going right now. I am so thankful for what we have now.”