Meet the AFC training room’s resident skeleton: Indiana Bones

By Iris Marzolf

Ryan Wockley has been an Athletic Trainer for Chatham University for three years. He works alongside Head Athletic Trainer Renee Myers and fellow Athletic Trainer Rebecca Kayda.

For the past few months, though, there’s been a new presence in the Athletic and Fitness Center training room on the basement level past the squash courts.

In the corner of the training room stands a life-sized skeleton — but this is more than your average model. This skeleton sometimes wears clothes, is posed to look like it’s participating in various activities (such as dancing and playing sports) and has a name.

Meet Indiana Bones.

Wockley is responsible for transforming Indiana Bones from a lifeless skeleton model into a persona. It started when he put the head of Chatham’s mascot, Carson the Cougar, on the skeleton.

“[Myers] wanted a chrome model, but I thought we could do something more with [a classic one],” he said, so he put the mascot head on the skeleton and the idea evolved from there.

Before the start of the fall term, the athletic trainers held a naming contest and invited student-athletes who were on Chatham’s Shadyside campus for pre-season training to participate. “Indiana Bones” was the winning name, and the skeleton’s persona took off.

Indiana Bones has been posed swimming, shoveling snow, meditating, playing the game Ultimate Frisbee and more. Wockley gets ideas for the skeleton’s activities from things occurring in life: weather, in-season sports, school events and pop culture. He then borrows sports equipment from coaches, brings items in from home or purchases them at discount stores.

Indiana Bones on a sled. Photo by Ryan Wockley

Student-athletes often stop by the training room just to see what Indiana Bones is up to.

“We keep him PG so everyone can enjoy,” Wockley said.

He changes the costumes in the morning when no one is in the training room. He occasionally requires assistance, though, depending upon how complicated the costume is, but he usually handles thinking up fresh ideas and dressing Indian Bones himself.

So far, Wockley’s favorite poses were when he made it look as though Indiana Bones was sledding and playing lacrosse because they were the most difficult to put together.

“I thought it’d be nice to make it a little more fun in here, since it’s not the most fun place to be,” he said. A visit to the training room usually means that students are undergoing rehabilitation from an injury or receiving treatment for another issue.

Indiana Bones shoveling snow. Photo by Ryan Wockley

“If they can come in here and get a little bit of a laugh it was worth the 20 to 30 minutes it took to put him together,” Wockley said. “If it makes someone’s day better, it’s worth it for me.”

Follow Indiana Bones on Instagram: @therealindianabones