How Auburn Sports Medicine overcame budget hurdles to give their athletes better rehab and training with the Eccentron.
What can college Athletic Trainers and Directors do to optimize training and rehab without becoming bogged down in budgetary red tape as they try to purchase new rehab equipment for their student athletes? This is a common question that faces Athletic Trainers, Sports Medicine Directors, Coaches across universities across the country.
Budgetary constraints, time-consuming capital equipment requests, and a lengthy approval process create a heightened level of adversity that is often hard to overcome. When traditional methods fail, fundraising can provide an extra boost to quickly raise capital for equipment that optimizes results for student athletes.
The Capital Equipment Request Challenge
Hearing ‘capital equipment request’ feels like nails on a chalkboard. The process can kill the momentum of getting new solutions for your program. Completing all the cumbersome steps is time-consuming, and often results in less than desirable results. In some cases, approval and allocation can take years, which leaves athletes and Athletic Trainers without the updated equipment they need.
The Fundraising Solution
In the past 10 years, fundraising has quickly become a go-to solution to help individuals achieve their goals. For example, crowdfunding has long been the chosen path for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and even international athletes who need additional financial support as they pursue their Olympic goals. Crowdfunding can have profound results and is easy to do, thanks to digital platforms.
By learning from other successful fundraising campaigns, sports medicine programs can create their own fundraising campaigns to avoid a lengthy capital equipment request that leads to frustrations, wasted time, and inevitably outdated equipment. In short, fundraising delivers positive results that can benefit every student athlete.
Auburn University’s Crowdfunding Success
Auburn’s Director of Physical Therapy David Walsh knew his department needed a new solution for training and rehab. He did his research and decided that the BTE Eccentron is the best fit for his athletes.
The BTE Eccentron uses eccentric-only resistance with closed-chain movement to train and rehabilitate lower extremities, especially ACL injuries. The Eccentron had already made a big impact for fellow SEC school, University of Georgia. UGA Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson shares his training and rehab success with the Eccentron in this video.
But, as the story goes, Walsh was faced with a prolonged budget approval process. Year after year, extensive approval cycles and denied equipment requests created frustrations for Athletic Trainers and students alike. Walsh had already identified the equipment that his athletic department needed, and yet, traditional budgetary requests weren’t getting him anywhere.
Despite the obstacles, Walsh knew that the results he could achieve with the Eccentron would be worth it. In his words, “There’s no doubt that it [the BTE Eccentron] would be a game-changer because we can accelerate the rehab faster. It’s something I know that we can use in here every day.”
How Auburn Side-Stepped a Lengthy Budget Approval Process
Walsh recognized crowdfunding as an innovative solution for bypassing the budgetary constraints that many Athletic Directors face. His solution was to create a crowdfunding campaign that superseded the challenges of a capital budget request. He and Will Hastings, rising senior football player for the Auburn Tigers, worked together to organize the campaign. Hastings had experienced a knee injury himself, so he understood the importance of safe and effective rehab that would get him back on the field sooner.
With a bit of innovative marketing, social media, and an engaging video, the campaign gained the attention of a wide range of donors. It rallied the support of alumni, faculty, staff, students, college sports fans, and others in the Auburn community.
As part of the campaign, Walsh raised awareness by speaking on the university’s podcast, Talking Tigers. His interview helped listeners understand the value of getting better rehab results with the Eccentron, and encouraged support of his cause. Listen to the podcast episode to get his perspective.
In the end, this fundraising approach not only cut through the approval process red tape, but it also raised an impressive $33,918 in a 24-hour period. Their final total was more than enough meet their goal of purchasing the Eccentron.
Thanks to the crowdfunding campaign, Walsh was able purchase the BTE Eccentron sooner. Now, students can use it to track improvements in strength and motor control throughout each phase of the rehab process. ATCs and PTs can create a more effective rehab approach that leverages the proven impact of eccentric exercise. The result is better outcomes, in a shorter period of time; and, for students like Will Hastings, the ability to proudly walk back out on the field, ready to shout the battle cry of “War Eagle!”
Crowdfunding: The Easiest Way to Overcome Budget Cycle Constraints
Auburn University has shown that there is a better way to bypass the red tape of a cumbersome budget cycle. Instead of going through traditional methods, Athletic Trainers and Athletic Directors can avoid making a capital budget request altogether. They can use fundraising and crowdfunding to get the equipment they need.
When championship games are on the line, athletes need to recover safely and efficiently. ATCs need easy access to the top rehabilitation equipment. As seen through Walsh’s efforts, crowdfunding is a viable solution to bypass budget cycle constraints, pool resources, and easily raise the capital needed to purchase the best exercise equipment on the market.