Sports have always been a passion for Claire Irvine, the athletic trainer for the Central Oregon Community College rugby team.
“I always played sports when I was younger,” Irvine said. “Athletics is a huge part of my life that I enjoy.”
Claire Irvine has been the athletic trainer for the COCC Bobcats since the spring of 2013. She graduated from Eastern Washington University with a Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training and Board of Certification. She has also completed her Master’s degree in Sports Management at Kansas State University. 70% of athletic trainers graduate college with a Master’s degree, according to Irvine. Irvine herself is among that 70%.
Irvine was approached by Coach Bennett through the Center Foundation, a local medical sponsor of the rugby team here at COCC. The Bobcats were looking for someone to help in assisting the prevention of injuries on the rugby field, especially concussions.
“They approached the Center [Foundation] looking for a concussion specialist,” Irvine explained. “I decided to sign on and delivered their impact test and began attending games.”
Impact tests are tests that are given to all athletes to develop a mental baseline to help assist in the diagnosis and treatment of all head injuries. When an athlete receives a head injury, medical providers refer back to the baseline developed through the impact test to help treat the patient and send them on the road to recovery. Impact tests and baselines have played a large role in the treatment of concussions in all sports, according to Irvine.
However, preventing concussions is not the only thing Irvine does for the COCC Bobcats. Like other trainers in the field of sports medicine, Irvine works to ensure that all members of the COCC rugby team are safe when participating in games.
“I do a lot of pre-game wrapping to prevent possible injury,” Irvine said.
When the inevitable injury does occur on the field, Irvine is the first to respond. She quickly does a medical assessment, treats the injury, and releases the athlete back into the game if the injury allows such action. In a high-contact sport like rugby, Irvine finds herself constantly moving on the sidelines.
“They keep me busy during games,” Irvine said.