July 26, 2014

SLU AT Students Start a Year-long NFL Experience with Summer Internship

Summer Internship Blog Post - St. Louis Rams
By: Hilary Stepansky and Jose Mendez (MAT Class of 2015)

Working with the St Louis Rams has truly been a once in a lifetime opportunity.  We still find it unbelievable to be given the opportunity to serve as athletic training interns for the 2014 St. Louis Rams. Through countless hours of hard work and observation, we have learned about new treatment protocols, performance enhancement, and sports-specific rehabilitation progressions that has expanded our knowledge from textbook learning to real world application. The St. Louis Rams are without question a high-level organization from top to bottom.  We have been lucky enough to work with the great athletic training staff headed by Reggie Scott ATC, James Lomax ATC, Byron Cunningham PT, ATC, Tyler Williams ATC, and 2014 SLU Alum Nick Gastorf ATC. Each and every member of the athletic training team has taught us so much and the relationships we have made as athletic training interns are invaluable.

Back Row: Byron Cunningham, Tyler Williams, James Lomax and Nick Gastorf
Front Row: Jose Mendez and Hilary Stepansky
In the days leading up to our May 20th start date, we were not exactly sure what to expect. The first couple days of “information overload” were overwhelming, but soon enough the routine became natural.  From day one, we worked long hours until it felt like our legs would fall off, but we left everyday excited to come in the next day.  Rams Park has a way of making even the longest days fly by. The phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” applied to our experience at Rams Park.  Even with the early morning workouts, we could not help but wake up ecstatic for the opportunity and lessons that waited with each new day.  We have worked every OTA (organized team activities) and were recently extended through the rest of the season including training camp! So far we have worked alongside four of the six training camp interns, one seasonal intern, four full time staff members who amass over 29 years of NFL experience combined.  Our days as athletic training interns consisted of preparing the athletic training room for daily treatments, monitoring the recovery room for HRV (heart rate variability) readings each morning, pre-practice set up and post-practice breakdown, performing daily treatments with therapeutic modalities and therapeutic exercises, and taping the players prior to all practices.

Hilary Stepansky
Jose Mendez
With the amount of time we have worked with interns from other Athletic Training programs, we have grown personally and professionally by expanding our view of the profession outside our specific spheres of education.  This has been a valuable takeaway to us, as we can learn just as much from each other through simple observation and communication as we can from our textbooks in the classrooms.  Many of our weaknesses as clinicians may be strengths of other programs.  At the end of the day, we all want to leave as successful and confident athletic trainers; helping one another is essential to our success as a sports medicine team. Not only was knowledge exchanged, but also new connections were made that, otherwise, would have never been possible without this experience.

Always remember...it’s great to be St. Louis Ram!

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.

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