Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin sports medicine staff increase as athletic programs expand

With the addition of football, men’s volleyball and acrobatics and tumbling, the Calvin sports medicine staff has adapted and prepared for an increase in student-athletes by hiring two new staff members: Jillian Graham and Tyler Thompson.

In the past, Calvin University had two athletic trainers, a physical therapist and two team doctors.  The existing athletic trainers and both team doctors were hired by Corewell Health (formerly known as Spectrum Health) though they work full-time at Calvin, thanks to an agreement between Calvin and Corewell Health that allows for the “hiring out” of Corewell Health employees, according to Bernier.

Sam Bernier has been at Calvin for some time. Though he and his colleagues Jessica Rhodes and Tyler Thompson work for Corewell Health, “we spend 99.99% of our time here at Calvin, some people don’t even realize I’m one of the Corewell employees,” Bernier said.

Jillian Graham was hired as athletic trainer this fall. Photo from the Calvin Knights directory.

When he heard Calvin was getting more athletes, “the first thing we advocated for was to get more staff members. More athletes means more patient care and we need more people to make sure the patient care stays the same,” Bernier told Chimes, which led to the new hires.

Graham and Thompson were hired by Calvin and Corewell Health, respectively.

Graham completed her clinicals at Calvin last spring while getting her master’s degree, and was hired full-time this fall after she graduated from GVSU. There were a few learning curves in the transition from clinicals to full staff member, she told Chimes. “The first couple weeks I was here there was a lot of physicals and emails, and it wasn’t stuff I had learned in class so it was a little overwhelming,” as was “the first week that we had kids here … because that was the first time I had to make a decision on my own,” she said.

However, it was helpful to do her clinicals in the same place she was hired, she said. “I am very grateful I get to work with the preceptors and mentors I had last year. I feel comfortable having this place be my first job.”

Tyler Thompson was hired to be athletic trainer for the football team. Photo from the Calvin Knights directory.

Tyler Thompson was hired to be the main football athletic trainer, although all of the athletic trainers have been stepping up with football players when it gets busy. “We’ve all been helping Tyler out, making sure that he’s good to go,” Graham told Chimes.

Player safety is the number one priority for Calvin’s sports medicine team, and the athletic trainers are doing everything they can to make sure the increase in athletes doesn’t take away from the quality of care they provide. “We want to make sure we provide the highest level of patient care, starting by making sure we’re on top of the small things every day,” Bernier said.

A new satellite facility — a smaller athletic training room located away from the main room with less equipment — is being built by the new football field to help with practice and game-related injuries. Its close proximity to the outdoor fields will make it easier to treat injuries that happen outdoors, instead of moving the injured athlete back inside. The satellite facility is expected to be completed in fall 2024.

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