August 12, 2014

SLU AT Student “Gets Grizzlie” Spending a Summer with Pro Baseball Team

Summer Internship Blog Post - Gateway Grizzlies
By: Josh Harris (MAT Class of 2015)

A part of the West Division of the Frontier League (Independent League; non-MLB affiliate), the Gateway Grizzlies Professional Baseball team resides right across the Mississippi River in Sauget, Illinois. GCS Ballpark is where the Grizzlies play their home games and it was also was the site of my athletic training internship for the summer. Outside of GCS Ballpark, I had the opportunity to gain more athletic training experience by traveling with the team to T.R. Hughes Stadium in O’ Fallon, Missouri. These trips to O’ Fallon would occur when the Grizzlies were scheduled to play their cross-town rival, the River City Rascals. I share the internship experience with a fellow ATS from the University of Arkansas, Andy Scheumann, and the head athletic trainer of the Grizzlies, Geof Manzo, MS, ATC. Geof was really great to work with and he undoubtedly helped Andy and I build upon our athletic training skills.

Andy Schuemann, Izzy the Grizzly, Geof Manzo ATC and Josh Harris
The vast majority of my summer internship was spent at GCS Ballpark; in the athletic training room, treatment and rehabilitation room, on the field, and in the dugout. A typical day interning with the Grizzlies would begin around 1pm and end about an hour or so after the game was over. As soon as we arrived at GCS, Andy and I had to fold towels, that would later be used by the players on both teams, and also prepare the visiting team’s athletic training room. After these prep tasks were completed, Geof, Andy, and I would wait for our players to show up and then begin treatment and rehab with those who needed it. Some common treatments we performed on the players throughout the day included: therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation, thermotherapy via heat packs, cryotherapy via ice bags, massage, taping, therapeutic exercise, and stretching. The treatment session lasted until 3pm, which is when we would go outside and begin the warm-up session for pitchers. About 30 minutes after that, we would begin the warm-up session for position players. After the warm-ups were over for both sets of players, batting practice would commence and then end around 4:45pm.

From the end of batting practice up until about 6:30pm, we would again perform treatment on any player that requested it or needed it. It was then time for the game, where all of us would be sitting in the dugout with the team. If any injury presented itself during the game, Geof would walk out on the field and evaluate the athlete. After his evaluation, he would come back into the dugout and discuss his findings with Andy and I. If there was no injury presented during the game, we would mostly spend our time making sure our players (and umpires) were properly hydrated. At the conclusion of the game, Andy, Geof, and I would all return to the athletic training room and wait for players to come to us for any treatment or evaluation before they went home for the night. The last task Andy and I had before the day was considered over was cleaning up the opposing team’s athletic training room.

Going into this summer internship, I really didn’t know what to expect. It was a totally new environment for me, as I had never worked with a baseball team this in-depth throughout my whole first year of athletic training practice. The experience was also an opportunity to practice with high-level athletes; much higher of a level than I had worked with in previous athletic training experiences at Parkway South High School and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Overall, I feel that I have gained a lot of athletic training knowledge by engaging in this internship. I am very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with a great athletic trainer, staff, and team. This experience with the Grizzlies taught me a lot and I am looking forward to the next steps and challenges in becoming an athletic trainer.

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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