Sports Medicine Clinic keeps Skyline’s athletes going strong

Athletic Trainer Jo Silken aids soccer player Rocio Samayoa at the Skyline Sports Clinic. (Diana Diroy)

Athletic Trainer Jo Silken aids soccer player Rocio Samayoa at the Skyline Sports Clinic. (Diana Diroy)

The sports medicine clinic on campus can offer more than just treatment for injuries-it’s a great place to gain hands-on experience in a variety of professions.

The clinic mainly serves the needs of varsity student athletes, but Jo Silken, the woman in charge of the clinic, is always happy to help out others.

“I do treat faculty in here, depending on what’s going on, how busy I am,” Silken said. “Normally, if it’s one of our coaches then it’s actually my job responsibility to treat them. I also have PE students that the school nurse refers to me and it’s my pleasure to treat them.”

It doesn’t cost any money to be treated at the clinic because volunteers and students from the sports medicine classes get experience there. Silken is also the instructor for the sports medicine classes.

There are two sports medicine classes, the upper extremities and the spine, and the lower extremities. She also teaches the clinical internship class. Students who take the classes gain experience that many students don’t get at a four-year university. Students who don’t take the class have the chance to volunteer in the clinic and still get some practice.

The students and volunteers learn basic assessment skills and in-depth anatomy knowledge that they will need in any health care profession. Also, students learn how to treat injuries, as in sprained ankles, broken bones, and so on. Students learn about rehabilitation, exercises, different modalities, and taping techniques to support the body.

“On average, a student who is taking the clinical internship class will spend somewhere from six to ten hours a week getting hands-on experience, working with the athletes and practicing their skills at a level that I can allow them to treat the athletes,” Silken said.

The clinic can offer athletes the same kind of treatment they would receive at any outside clinic. It has ultrasound machines, electric stimulation, as well as new light therapy units, which are the hottest things on the market right now for treating injuries, according to Silken.

The clinic is now in its permanent home of portable 3B, after being moved from the gym in August. The clinic is now much bigger and there is more room to treat the athletes. Last year, the whole sports medicine program was cut when the budget crisis hit the college. The program was reinstated into curriculum in August and is growing. Athletic director and Division Dean Andreas Wolf says that they are working on revising the courses to make them transferable to San Jose State University because there is a sports medicine program there.

The clinic is not considered a physical therapy clinic because Silken is not a physical therapist; she is a certified athletic trainer. The main difference between the two professions is that physical therapists are trained to treat stroke patients, amputees and other conditions, while a certified athletic trainer specializes in assessing and treating injuries to physically active people.

Interning or volunteering in the clinic will not prepare a student only for Silken’s profession; there are many other opportunities available for a student who has this experience.

“I had one guy who is a doctor now. He’s going into his trauma surgery fellowship at Stanford,” Silken said. ” I have had occupational therapy majors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and people interested in massage therapy. I’ve had other students that are just interested in taking care of their own bodies. I’ve had sports coaches and parents of athletes to learn more about injuries. So the program’s not just for getting into the health care profession.”

The clinic helps anywhere from 15-25 students a day, Silken says, especially in the fall semester. There are 4 teams playing in the fall, so depending on where the teams are playing, the clinic can get very busy.

” Fall is a very intense time for sports. There are a lot of student athletes,” Wolf said. “The clinic is a very positive thing.”

Silken is always happy to see a student who is interested in the clinic.

” People who are interested in the internship or volunteering can come in anytime,” Silken said. “The main thing is it’s great to have an internship at this level. You can go to school for nearly four years and not even touch your first patient. Students at this campus have the opportunity to have hands-on experience to really find out if they like this major.”