June 13, 2017

SLU AT Student Gets Immersive Professional Baseball Experience with the Gateway Grizzlies

SLU AT Summer Field Experience Spotlight - Gateway Grizzlies
By: Adam Beck (SLU MAT Class of 2018)

I am spending my summer getting a great experience with the Gateway Grizzlies and their athletic trainer Geof Manzo, MS, ATC. The Gateway Grizzlies are an independent baseball team in the frontier league, and play at GCS Stadium in Sauget, IL just on the other side of the river from St. Louis. Geof has been with the Grizzlies for 15 years now and has done an outstanding job as an athletic trainer and a preceptor. He has established a great relationship with the coaching staff and players that are veterans on the team allowing them to trust him. I spend most of my time with Geof at the clubhouse in the training room, out on the field, and in the dugout.
During a normal home game that starts at 7, I arrive to the clubhouse at about 1 O’clock. Once I arrive, I start by setting up the visitor’s athletic training room stocking it with ice and towels. Then once the players start coming in they come see us to get whatever treatment they need for the day. Something I noticed was that the players have more say in their treatment. Some pitchers prefer different types of treatments before or after they throw. Then at 3 we head out to the field and stretch out the pitchers.

Once finished with the pitchers, we start stretching the fielders. Then they take batting practice. By the time batting practice is over there is still a couple hours till first pitch. We spend this time doing more treatment, rehab, and stretching out certain individual players. This schedule gives me a lot of experience everyday with new rehab plans and different types of treatments.
I have been around baseball in previous settings, but the Gateway Grizzlies are giving me a new look into a different level of baseball and how the role of the athletic trainer fits. Geof does a great job of showing me new techniques and explaining how they work, why to use them, and when to use them. He allows me to get very hands on, whether it is with some sort of treatment such as cupping or with constructing a rehab plan to help athletes get back to full health.
The Gateway Grizzlies and Geof have given me a great hands on learning experience. I am excited to see how the season will progress and what new experiences I will encounter.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive 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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