July 02, 2015

SLU AT Student Gets Field Experience with Rugby "Down Under" in Australia

SLU AT Summer Field Experience Spotlight - Manly Marlins, Sydney Australia
By: Cara Bowton (SLU MAT Class of 2016)

For my summer internship I decided to go for an opportunity I might not normally have.  I am with the Manly Marlins located in Manly, which is on northern beaches of Sydney, Australia.  The Marlins are a club semi-professional rugby union team.  I get to work with 4 grades of over 20’s teams as well as 4 colts teams which ages range between 16 and 20.  This is roughly 160 athletes all together. Rugby union is a lifestyle for the community of Manly and I am grateful to be a part of it this season. 

Learning the rules of the game was my first challenge but with guidance from the athletes, coaches, and the entire staff I am able to get a good grasp of the game. Working with the sport physiotherapists as well as the entire club staff has been an absolute pleasure. Everyone is more than welcoming and I have come to love the sport.  My first week the boys taught me to throw properly which is much harder than they make it look but by the end of the winter season I hope to improve.  

Bioathletic Sports Injuries and Performance is the clinic right across from manly oval, which cares for the club teams.  I spend my morning in clinic taking athletes and patients alike through rehabilitation and treatments.  Then I head to the gym to assist in training and at nights we head out to practice. Saturdays are a big day with four matches back to back.  I get to see multiple injuries everyday and I have the unique experience of learning a whole new health care system.  The staff I have the honor to work with include Alison Donnan (physiotherapist), Rachel Underwood (physiotherapist), James Brodie (strength and conditioning coach), Richard Andjelkovic (first aid), and many others.  

There are multiple new and interesting techniques I am lucky to learn here that I will be able to take with me for future practice.  In rugby there is an abundance of shoulder injuries such as AC sprains, rotator cuff dysfunction, and impingement and I get hands on experience helping each athlete return to play.  I also have the opportunity to sit in on a knee menisectomy surgery of one of our athletes as well as an ACL repair.  

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with such an amazing staff.  Each and every one of them pushes me to learn and allows me to ask questions.  My time here has already made a huge impact on my education and my skills as an athletic training student. I get to take the lead during some of the matches which forces me to truly rely on what I’ve learned in classes and develop an intuition of managing injuries appropriately and efficiently.  I will remember this as one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  I could not have asked for a better clinical placement and group of people to work with.  

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have a required field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program.  This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

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