August 01, 2013

SLU AT Student Spends a Summer With the Salukis

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Summer Internship
By: Blake Hudspeth (MAT Class of 2014)

This summer I had the privilege of working with an NCAA Division I FCS football team at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale under the guidance of Head Athletic Trainer Lee Land ATC and graduate assistant Destry Sperfslage ATC. Lee has been a part of the SIU-C Sports Medicine staff since 2001 and was recently promoted to Assistant Athletic Director in charge of Sports Medicine in 2011. With this promotion, Lee is constantly remaining busy with various meetings and other responsibilities throughout the day. Because of this, most of my time was spent working with Destry and the football team. Destry is a certified athletic trainer, having received his undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa. This is his second year working with the SIU-C football team as graduate assistant on Lee’s staff.

SLU AT Student Blake Hudspeth with Destry Sperfslage ATC
A typical day for me would all depend on the schedules of the rest of Lee’s athletic training staff. Some days I would arrive at the athletic training room at 5:30 am, and other days I would arrive around 3:00 pm. I would make sure to arrive early enough to help tape and stretch the athletes prior to their daily workouts. While the football team was lifting weights, Destry and I would move around the weight room observing the various Olympic-style lifts that strength and conditioning coach Clete McLeod and his staff had scheduled for the team on that day. This was a great learning experience for me, as I was able to learn proper form and technique from Clete and his staff.

Along with the work in the fitness center, the team also did conditioning drills on their game field in Saluki Stadium. Depending on which day of workouts it was, they would do tempo runs, snake runs, 5-10-5 shuttles, and other various cone drills. The linemen would also run bleachers while the skills players were doing more endurance-type conditioning. It was often 90-plus degrees outside at this time, so it was important for Destry and myself to help the players stay hydrated and stretched to avoid muscle cramps and strains.

After the strength and conditioning workouts some of the players would come to the athletic training room with various injuries that they have been dealing with. I was able to learn various rehab protocols from Lee and Destry involving the ankle, knee, back, and shoulder problems that were bothering the players. I was also able to use therapeutic modalities in the athletic training room, depending on the player and their type of injury. Whenever we did have down time, I would take advantage of Lee and Destry’s knowledge and experience in this great profession to ask them questions about rehab protocols, injuries, and various “what would you do” situations.

I am very grateful that Lee allowed me to come aboard his athletic training staff for a couple months so that I could advance my knowledge in athletic training. Lee, Destry, and everyone else at SIU-C made me feel right at home from the very beginning. I feel that I took full advantage of this opportunity and couldn't have had a better group of staff, coaches, and players to work with.   

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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