For Western Washington University students suffering from injuries, the Student Health Center athletic training services are offered through the Wade King Student Recreation Center free of charge.
Located at the REC Center, students who pay the health services fee through the university and are enrolled with at least six credits can get assistance in rehabilitation for all injuries they may have.
To schedule an appointment for athletic training at the REC center, a student must be referred by to one of the providers at the Student Health Center. Operating times of the REC and Student Health Center are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lori DeKubber is the athletic trainer at Western and works with students through their rehabilitation. She is employed by the Student Health Center but operates out of the REC center.
“As an athletic trainer, I tend to be focused on returning students to their previous level of activity and address any underlying variables that may have contributed to their injury so that it does not return,” DeKubber said in an email interview.
The Student Health Center does not bill insurance for athletic services provided, so DeKubber can provide any level of service needed to a student with no extra charge outside of the health services fee.
The health services fee is automatically charged to students enrolled in six or more credits, according to Western’s Counseling and Wellness Center website.
“I do not have the restrictions insurance companies may put on the amount and kind of care I can provide,” DeKubber said.
Connor Farrand, a fourth-year Western student, used the service in the spring of 2019 for a partial tear in his right labrum. The initial injury he suffered was in November 2018 and had surgery for it in February 2020.
“The appointments I had post-injury and pre-surgery were helpful to build up strength in weak areas,” Farrand said. “I got a sense of my range of motion.”
A majority of the injuries DeKubber has recently seen are postural strains. These injuries are a result of the pandemic which forced students to be confined to a desk and their computers for long periods of time, DeKubber said.
DeKubber said she is also seeing an increase in acute ankle and knee sprains because of students getting more active again.
Dr. Dan Anton, professor and physical therapist at Eastern Washington University said that physical therapy, in general, is offered for a wide range of injuries and can range in cost.
“People see a physical therapist for back pain, they see people for knee pains, they see people for a stroke,” Anton said.
Services offered through Western are not physical therapy, they are athletic training that helps with injury rehabilitation.
Athletic training through Western is a good starting point in the injury healing process, Farrand said. He is now seeing a physical therapist outside of Western for his injury.
If in-person visits do not work with a student's schedule, DeKubber also offers telehealth appointments for those who are unable to get to campus or are out of town. Telehealth appointments are regular appointments conducted online through Zoom.
“This is a well-used service,” DeKubber said. “My appointment schedule is typically full.”
The Student Health Center offers other services covered by the health service fee, including primary care, women’s health and behavioral health.
“I encourage students to use athletic training and also student health and counseling center services while they are here,” DeKubber said. “It can get difficult to access health care once you leave campus.”
Henry Burns is a Public Relations student and reporter for The Front. His work focuses on local sports. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.