From blisters and concussions to full-blown bone snaps and neurological injuries, there’s a lot that can go wrong with the human body that might stop an athlete from competing.
Luckily, Butler athletes have a top-notch prevention and recovery system if anything happens to go south.
Butler sports medicine, which has a little training room lodged between the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms in Hinkle Fieldhouse, provides illness and injury
prevention, assessment, treatment and rehab to every student-athlete on campus.
Its headquarters—while appearing relatively average as a 20 by 20 room—is actually the home base for every Butler athlete who has ever had any sort of ache or pain.
The staff consists of head athletic trainer Ryan Galloy, associate trainers Missy Schultz and Chris Tinkey, and assistant trainers Tiffany Franklin, Allegra Lucia and Mike Howell.
Team physicians provided by St. Vincent Sports Performance also assist.
Becca Bornhorst, a senior basketball player, is just one example of someone who is no stranger to the training room crew.
Bornhorst said athletic training doesn’t get much better than Butler sports medicine.
“The training room staff is awesome,” Bornhorst said. “They’re so supportive, and they actually help you. And they’re really good at communicating with the coaches.”
Bornhorst has had her fair share of injuries throughout her career, particularly at Butler. Women’s basketball coach Beth Couture has to know exactly what Bornhorst can and can’t do in practice.
But this season is a little different. Bornhorst made the decision to sit the bench, opting for what she hopes is a better situation for her body long-term.
Over winter break, she was meant to head to Chicago for surgery to have a brand new meniscus, articular cartilage and possibly a new ACL put in one of her knees. But a lack of eligible graft availability has left the process at a standstill.
Chicago Bulls’ head doctor Brian Cole—whom Bornhorst was referred to by SVSP physicians—will eventually lead the operation.
But when she’s in Indy, it’s Butler and St. Vincent’s who are in charge.
“I feel like all the athletes here (at Butler) get cared for really well,” she said. “I work a lot with Missy and Ryan and they’ve helped me through, gosh, so much.
“Sometimes you aren’t dealt the best cards, but sometimes you just have to deal with it.”
Some injuries are just a little too complicated for the training room staff, but most times, there are simply too many injured athletes for the staff to handle.
“We’re here to assist the Butler athletic trainers as needed,” said Jon Grant, outreach manager and certified athletic trainer at SVSP. “It’s one big, happy family.”
Grant says SVSP is really an add-on to what the trainers at Butler do and the athletes and coaches from the school have all been easy to work with.
“Because we see athletes from all over the world,” he said, “you might have athletes that seek (us) out on their own.”
And for good reason: SVSP serves 63 of the athletes who competed in the Olympics in London this summer, with 32 of them bringing home medals.
However, the main team healing Butler athletes is back in Hinkle.
From tapings to laser-light therapy to emergency care, the athletic trainers are able to provide the majority of the services needed from right here on campus.
Fortunately, they also travel to most sporting events.
Consider senior basketball player Rotnei Clarke’s close call with disaster: Both Butler trainers and SVSP staff were at his side, offering on-scene aid to the Bulldog star during what head coach Brad Stevens called “the worst eight minutes of (his) career.”
Schultz said all of the trainers travel and are involved with a large portion of the university teams, but each trainer has a focus team that he or she works with consistently.
She also said the main issue on the trainers’ end is communication.
“Every coach likes to have information presented to them differently,” Schultz said. “But so long as we’re communicating, and as long as we adapt, there really haven’t been any issues. As a whole, the athletics department works well together.”
Shultz said Butler likes what it provides to the school.
“They work with elite athletes —that’s what they’re known for,” she said. “So it’s a pretty good fit for a Division I program like Butler.”