ISU's new sports therapy clinic caters to students

By WEEK Producer

September 6, 2012 Updated Sep 6, 2012 at 7:59 PM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- An avid runner, Illinois State University student Chrissy Baumgart was getting treatment on her achilles Thursday.

She didn't visiting a doctor or an expensive clinic off campus. Instead, she's being treated at the university's new SMART Clinic.

"The SMART Clinic is an outpatient and rehabilitation clinic that's designed to provide athletic training and rehabilitation services to the students at Illinois State University," said the clinic's director, Dr. Justin Stanek.

Its also a place for on the job training.

Students studying for careers as athletic trainers apply what they've learned on actual student patients. The patient benefits with low cost care. But first, they need to get a referral from Student Health Services.

"Its only 10 dollars every time you come in here you don't have to worry about insurance and stuff like that," explained Baumgart. "You don't have to find someone, this is right on campus. You can walk to it."

SMART stands for Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Therapy. And the student trainers aren't as green as you might think.

Ryan Ledwon spent this past summer working in Des Moines as an assistant trainer for the minor league Iowa Cubs. He says in most cases students receive the same care at the SMART Clinic as they would at a fancy rehab center.

"We treat anything from post-surgical to an acute injury that you might suffer playing a game of recreational basketball," Ledwon said.

"Ultimately we want (student trainers) to be practicing those skills in a real world context. That's what the clinic allows for students in our program to do."

Located in McCormick Hall, instruction at the clinic takes place in the morning while afternoons are reserved for seeing patients.

They've averaged roughly 5 patients per day since the clinic opened when school started, but hope that figure grows as more students learn about it.