Up close with TU's Dave Polanski
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
11/13/12 at 5:38 AM
Position: Assistant athletic director for student health and performance
Alma mater: Graduated from Purdue University in 1990 and received his master's degree from the University of Arizona in 1992
Hometown: Berlin, Conn.
After serving as an assistant trainer at UCLA in 1994-99, Polanski became TU's head athletic trainer. In 2007, he was promoted to a new position - assistant athletic director for student health and performance.
How did a Connecticut guy end up at Purdue?
My brother was at Purdue. I visited and loved it there. When I got there, I took a couple of years to figure out what I wanted to do. I was fortunate that Purdue had an outstanding athletic training program. From there, I looked for the best educational opportunity. Arizona also had a great training program, and I wanted to see a different part of the country. I was going to be somewhere for two years, and I wanted to be somewhere I hadn't been before.
Football is a punishing game. On average, how many players require some sort of treatment on Sundays?
We probably see anywhere from 20 to 30 guys on Sunday. A lot of them, we see on Sunday only. Sunday afternoons are very busy. So are Mondays. There are no football responsibilities on Mondays, so if it's needed, we can do two really good sessions of treatment on Mondays.
If the worst part of your job is informing an athlete that he has sustained a season-ending injury, is the best part of your job being a part of the rehabilitation that results in the athlete's return?
Without a doubt, yes. That's the part of the job that I enjoy most. The surgical cases, when they're out for a while, they know they have to struggle for several months. To give them the map that gets them back on the field, and then to see them make progress every day, that's the payoff. It's great to watch them come back and do what they love to do.
The torn anterior cruciate ligament is such a common knee injury. Three TU players have sustained torn ACLs this season. Are you able to almost immediately diagnose a torn ACL?
A lot of times, yeah. A lot of times, it's very obvious. Watching the game is a very important part of our job. If I see a guy get hit a certain way, I'm thinking of certain possibilities before I even get out there with him. There's one particular test - the Lachman's test - that we do immediately, and it's very reliable. It's no fun to tell a player that it might be something bad.
Original Print Headline: Up Close: Dave Polanski