September 04, 2013

SLU AT Student Gets NFL Training Camp Experience With the St. Louis Rams

St. Louis Rams/NFL Training Camp Summer Internship
By: Nick Gastorf (MAT Class of 2014)

Coming into Training Camp with the St. Louis Rams I was not exactly sure on what to expect.  I knew I would be working long hours, but nonetheless, I was ecstatic for the opportunity to be working with an NFL team, albeit, my hometown team. Our days as training camp interns consist of preparing the athletic training room for daily treatments, pre-practice set up and post-practice breakdown, performing daily treatments with therapeutic modalities and therapeutic exercises, and taping the players prior to practice and games.

SLU AT student Nick Gastorf (middle) with James Lomax ATC and Tyler Williams ATC
The Rams have a top-notch athletic training staff consisting of four full time staff members: Reggie Scott ATC, Head Athletic Trainer, and three Assistant Athletic Trainers, James Lomax ATC, Byron Cunningham PT, ATC, and Tyler Williams ATC.  The staff is constantly attempting to enhance their knowledge on the many different topics related to sports medicine.  This is very evident by spending just one day in the athletic training room as multiple athletes are performing different exercise techniques or treatments throughout the room.  Because of this, I have had the privilege to learn a vast amount of new information in field of athletic training that I did not know existed beforehand.

With six training camp interns, one seasonal intern (SLU MAT graduate Ryan Vallo ATC), and four full time staff members, there is always something going on.  With the amount of time everyone spends together there is a lot of time to get to know each other.  This is a valuable asset to have as not everyone does everything the exact same way, and new ways can be developed by simply observing.  Not only can new information is learned, but new friendships and connections are made that would have never been possible without this experience.

SLU AT student Nick Gastorf, Program Director Anthony Breitbach ATC and 2013 MAT graduate Ryan Vallo ATC
However, I have failed to mention, in my opinion, the best part of the internship…the games!  You always hear people say that preseason games don’t matter.  I disagree.  There is no better feeling to know that you are working a game in the NFL.  Not many people in the world can say that.  I, fortunately, am one of the few that say I have.  Throughout my preseason with the Rams I was able to work two home games versus the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens as well as travel on the road and work the game against the Denver Broncos.  

Working an NFL Training Camp Internship truly is a once in a lifetime experience.  I would not trade the hours that I have worked, the information that I have learned, or the friendships I have made for anything.  I truly consider myself lucky and blessed to have had this opportunity to work for such a great organization.

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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