This new normal has redefined the definition of “care” for many health care providers.
The most challenging part of delivering health care via telemedicine is the inability to use my hands. My progress report measurements have been reduced to subjective measurements, meaning I need to ask my student-athletes how they feel, if they have pain or if they feel a perceived increase in function, as opposed to strength testing them myself.
Staying connected with my student-athletes and co-workers has been relatively smooth. We are all blessed with modern technology providing more ways to stay connected. I generally have anywhere from two to four telehealth calls per day, ranging from 40 minutes to over an hour.
When this all happened, I had a few student-athletes coming off recent surgeries who had to return home. My top priority is not letting their recovery fall behind. I also send individualized programs to any of my students who request them, whether for an injury or just general injury prevention for their sport.
Our sports performance staff also has done a wonderful job of engaging the student-athletes with workouts they can do from home.
In a combined effort with sports medicine, sports performance and sports nutrition, we have been offering weekly Zoom meetings. These voluntary workouts allow the student-athletes to get some face time with our staff and other student-athletes. Some classes are sport-specific, but others are designed for general body injury prevention, agility, cooking demonstrations and more.
I think the most important time in the sessions I have led has been the “stretch and chat.” After any instruction is over, I ask the student-athletes to unmute themselves and tell me about their classes, quarantine life or really anything they want to talk about. That mental connection is so crucial during this time. I don’t mean just for them but also for me as I adjust to this new normal of not seeing my “kids” every day.
I also try to serve my students by providing them with any resources to help them through this time.