Intramural program to see changes, more preparation to handle injuries

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Dixie State University’s intramural sports program is working to keep sports competitive and safe with new policies being implemented this year.

Students will now be able to receive first aid on every field instead of having to travel to find the one person somewhere on one of the intramural fields. 

In the DSU intramural sports mission statement, it says the goal of the intramural sports program is to provide a fun, safe and friendly environment in order to enrich student life here on Campus. David Howell, assistant director of intramurals, said nearly 2,700 students are involved with intramural sports at DSU every year, and that number is steadily increasing. That is over one-quarter of the school’s total enrollment. 

Kalee Mason, a junior science major from Stansbury Park, said that intramural sports are appealing because of the fun and relaxed environment.

“It’s all about having fun,” said Mason. “There’s no one to yell at us or tell us what to do. Sometimes things can get a little heated and intense against the opposing team. But it’s always fun to challenge and better yourself.”

But when students are on the field competing, help for injuries isn’t always easily accessible. 

“During flag football, I was running to catch a pass, and me and this other girl were both looking at the ball and ran right into each other,” Mason said. “My head collided with her shoulder and it hurt.”

Mason said intramural staff couldn’t do much for her, but they did make sure she wasn’t critically injured. She had to walk all the way across campus to the gym to get ice after the game.

Howell said the intramural program is working to make sure every umpire, scorekeeper and staff member are certified to help students when they get hurt. They are also going to have amenities such as ice and bandage readily available this year. 

“We don’t have an athletic trainer on staff; budget wise it just doesn’t fit in the program,” Howell said. “We do have staff that are certified in [Automated External Defibrillator], [Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation] and first aid or will be shortly. This year, there will never not be someone on the field who is trained in first aid.”

Howell said typically collisions don’t happen because all of DSU’s intramural sports are no-contact, and the school puts additional rules in place to make sure that no one gets hurt. 

For example, Howell said DSU has done away with blocking on the offensive line in flag football to avoid the opportunity for collision.

Another safety issue is the intramural field at DSU which has conditions that are far from ideal. Mason said the field gets so muddy when it rains that it practically turns into a slip and slide. With such a great number of students playing on this field every year, the chances of an athlete getting hurt, especially in the rainy season, are higher because of the amount of mud produced.

“I personally have fallen because of the bad conditions,” said Mason. “Other than that, the location and space is good.” 

Howell said he would love to implement a turf field.

“Our grounds people do a great job, but the grass is overused and doesn’t have time to recover,” Howell said. “With a turf field people would be safer, and it would save on maintenance and water cost in our desert environment.”

Even though DSU’s enrollment last year was stagnant, Howell said the intramural department saw a 5 percent growth. Howell said he believes, because of the amount of new freshmen this year, they will reach their goal of 3,000 students.

With the three new certifications that staff will be required to implement this year, DSU’s intramural sports will be safer for students, Howell said.