August 02, 2013

SLU AT Student Returns Home to Wisconsin for a Great Football Experience

Racine Raiders Summer Internship
By: Claire Botting (MAT Class of 2014)

This summer I had the chance to do my internship in my hometown of Racine, WI to work with the Racine Raiders, a semi-professional football team with a history deeply rooted in tradition and excellence. The organization first started in 1953 and since then they have won 8 national championships, including their last one in 2012. The Raiders rely greatly on the Racine community as the non- profit organization is entirely run by volunteers including players and coaches. Players come from all over southeastern Wisconsin and the Chicago area to play for the defending national champs. The team consists of mostly athletes with D I, II, III college or high school experience while a few have played on NFL practice squads.  It’s a very diverse group as their ages range from 19-44 years old. Some are rookies while others have played for 15 years.  I grew up going to Raider games so I was excited to get the opportunity to be on the sidelines instead of in the stands.

SLU AT student Claire Botting with Mike Houte ATC and Christian Venegas ATC
I had the privilege to work under the guidance of Christian Venegas ATC and Mike Houte ATC both athletic trainers who are contracted out through Doctors of Physical Therapy, a PT clinic located in nearby Kenosha. Christian has been working with the Raiders for four years, while Mike joined the medical staff last season.  Mike also splits his time between the Starting Nine Baseball Academy in Racine where he works with high school athletes to improve their strength and conditioning.  Both showed great interest and enthusiasm in helping me develop and improve my skills as an athletic trainer. They encouraged me to ask questions, but also to get out of my comfort zone by teaching me new ways to approach evaluations and new techniques to improve my taping.

Practices were only held twice a week, with games played Saturday evenings. A typical practice started with arriving an hour early to tape and answer any questions the athletes had. The Raiders do not have an athletic training facility, so we did all our work in their locker room. This summer I learned to be creative and how to work with the bare essentials because all we had were a training table and a kit.  When the pre-practice routine was finished we would head over to the field. If we weren’t busy treating the players or doing evaluations, we were practicing special tests or going over my competencies. Game days were a lot of fun but also a lot of hard work. We would arrive 3 hours before the 7pm kick-off to begin taping. There are 60 players on the team and almost everyone gets taped. Every game day I would tape between 20-30 ankles so I was definitely able to get my practice in this summer. I also got to work alongside team physician Dr. Sean Tracy of the Wisconsin Bone and Joint who accompanied us at every game.

Besides working with the Raiders I also got to spend some time in the Doctors of Physical Therapy clinic with Dr. Dave Graziano PT, DPT, OCS, MTC, FAAOMPT who specializes in manual therapy. I spent my days observing evaluations and then leading patients through their rehab exercises with Mike and Christian. I’m glad I got this opportunity to get some experience in the clinic because it gave me the chance to work with patients I don’t usually get to work with.

I am so thankful I got to spend my summer with the Raiders. The entire Raider family made me feel so welcome and I appreciate them giving me an opportunity to learn and grow as an athletic trainer.  This was an incredible experience and I got to meet and work with some amazing people along the way who I am going to miss.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training 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.

No comments: