Experiencing Life on the Frontier (League)
By: Derrick Neuner (SLU MAT Class of 2013)
My internship this summer is with the Gateway Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are an independent, professional baseball team that competes in the Frontier League against other teams primarily from the Midwest. The team is located at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, IL, just a few minutes across the river from St. Louis. They’ve been an organization since 2000 and won the Frontier League Championship in 2003.
I work with Geof Manzo, MS, ATC, as well as two other interns, Jordan Blankenship from Eastern Illinois University, and Taylor Chapman, from the University of Indiana. As a team, we provide medical treatment for the 25-men roster each and every day of the regular season, which started in mid-May and ends Sept. 1. That includes pre-game treatment, supervising team stretching, pitching preparation, supervising bullpen rotations, game management, post-game treatment, and preparing Geof to travel with the team. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, we do not travel with the team.
|From left: Derrick Neuner, Geof Manzo ATC, Izzy the Grizzly, Taylor Chapman, and Jordan Blankenship|
So far, the internship has been unique in that it’s the first clinical experience I have working with other students. That has provided a tremendous learning opportunity – both for learning new styles and ways of treatment and tampering my ego! Though we may all approach a situation differently, that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong.
The most challenging part of working with the Grizzlies is the independent nature of the athletes. They will seek us out for treatment, not the other way around. That’s been a tough adaptation for me, but Geof has been incredibly encouraging and supportive. It’s also difficult with a limited budget. While we have electrical stimulation and ultrasound available, our athletic training room is essentially a closet, and there isn’t a lot of time to implement extensive rehabilitation plans. The Frontier League is also unique in that players can be traded or released with no notice – here today, gone tomorrow is truly a way of life. That can make establishing treatment goals challenging, but it’s a great challenge to develop innovative ways to provide care.
Working with the Grizzlies has really given me an insight as to how higher levels of athletic training operate. I’m extremely blessed and fortunate to be working alongside a great athletic trainer, Geof, as well as players and coaches who are eager to help me achieve my own goals of growing and learning as an athletic trainer.
Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program have a required internship in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their internship experience.