LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10.COM) — It’s been said in sports that “the best ability is availability.” In other words, staying healthy reigns supreme. However, with back-to-back games every week and unplanned pauses sprinkled in, keeping the body in prime shape to perform is more challenging than ever for college basketball athletes.
“Last year, even before we had back-to-backs, we made sure to always schedule that day after the game as a recovery day,” said Siena men’s basketball head coach Carmen Maciariello.
“Recovery is extremely important,” echoed Siena head athletic trainer Greg Dashnaw.
It’s even more important and uniquely challenging this season with less than 24 hours between games.
“It’s hard for guys to go out and perform to their utmost when they’re sore,” said Dashnaw.
It’s also hard for he and his staff to perform their jobs in a pandemic. In addition to always being masked up and gloved up, which alters their ability to feel, they’re also conscious of how long they’re working with any one athlete. Dashnaw says “everything is under five minutes exposure with a kid” to prevent close contacts should anyone test positive for COVID-19. The protocols have also limited their access to certain equipment.
“The hardest thing for recovery,” said Dashnaw, “we used to use the cold tubs after every practice. Now we can’t use them at all.”
They can’t use the warm tubs either. So they use heat pads and ice instead. They stretch among other treatments and therapies, including a brand new one introduced this season.
“The Normatech recovery boots — those are key,” sophomore forward Kyle Young said.
“I try to use them every day,” said sophomore guard Jordan King. “They’re definitely beneficial.”
Dashnaw admits he was resistant to them at first.
“It’s something else to clean. With other teams, it’s hard to say to a kid, ‘that’s just for the basketball guys,'” said Dashnaw. Without an endless budget at a small private school like Siena, Dashnaw didn’t have the money to supply every team with the technology. The men’s and women’s basketball programs used their own budgets to purchase a pair of boots for their respective teams, but only those players can utilize them.
The compression units help to work out swelling in the legs.
“It’s a really good massage and I really like the way they feel,” said King.
Dahnaw added, “I realized they’re a handy tool to augment the other things we’re doing.”
After all, he says keeping the players healthy and safe is his top priority.