Bryan Grimley Adjusts to COVID-19

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Carleigh Graham

Athletic Trainer Bryan Grimley’s virtual, in-person set up for Sports Medicine class.

No typical days exist for Athletic Trainer Bryan Grimley, especially with the impact of COVID-19. This year, Grimley’s day starts with treating and taking care of athletes. “After treatments, I typically try to catch up on some paperwork, keeping track of who is out on quarantine, etc.,” said Grimley. “It seems like every day presents a new challenge.”
According to Grimley, the job of an athletic trainer is to cover games and practices, evaluate and treat injuries, communicate with coaches and parents and educate about injuries and treatment protocols. He feels his job is important every year but with COVID-19, “Athletic Trainers add an extra layer of protection. We are trained in dealing with not only athletic injuries, but illnesses as well… Athletic Trainers are now on the front lines, tracking and dealing with COVID[-19] on a daily basis,” said Grimley.
The 2020 lockdown closed many gyms and ended sports seasons early, so many athletes resorted to their own conditioning. Due to this, Grimley says he saw an increase in muscle strains and ankle sprains. According to Grimley, these injuries are less frequent as teams and gyms reopen to the public and “as kids have been able to get back into lifting and more conditioning type workouts to better prepare them for the rigors of regular season plan,” said Grimley.
While COVID-19 hasn’t made Grimley’s job harder, he said “it sometimes just slows things down a bit, but it really hasn’t been much of a problem. I’ve received a lot of support from the coaches which makes my job a lot easier.”
Additionally, Grimley had to create new COVID-19 policies and procedures mitigation to keep students and staff safe. “I’ve also had to become proficient at contact tracing and determining who needs to quarantine. This can become pretty tricky when you are dealing with multiple teams over multiple seasons,” said Grimley.
Grimley has a small group of students who work with him in the athletic training room. “They have to abide by all the same rules as the athletes. They’ve also been a huge help with behind the scenes stuff such as cleaning and sanitizing,” said Grimley. “They have learned all of our mitigation strategies inside and out. They make my life so much easier.”
According to Grimley, “Everyone has been great with the mitigation strategies; whether it be mask wearing, distancing, health checks, the coaches and athletes have really responded well to all of the extra things we’ve asked them to do. ” However, with the COVID-19 protocols, less spectators are available, and Grimley misses the “packed games with a lot of noise and fans.”
Grimley is unsure what sports will look like next year as things are constantly changing. He hopes to see more of a “normal” year next season but does not expect a full return to pre-pandemic sports. Despite all of this, Grimley is happy “to watch our athletes compete at the sports they love. I missed it all fall and winter. It’s been great to see the Falcons out winning again.”