By: Olivia Mani and Jordan Hyink (MAT Class of 2023)
Our summer field experience is with the Gateway Grizzlies, a Frontier League baseball team. Our preceptor Geof Manzo ATC, LAT has been working as the team’s athletic trainer for 19 seasons, so he knows exactly the best way to run a training room in this league. We have found our own groove in his system by working with the team in the Health Education Center. This center provides an appropriate environment to provide complete and adequate care to our athletes during their stretch of home games.
Working with professional baseball at this level challenges an athletic trainer’s ability to adapt. Often times management is trading or releasing players, which, for us, means we lose athletes we have been working with through recovery and gain new ones who need us to pick up their treatment plan from where they left off with their previous team. Another challenge is centralizing our focus to soft tissue work. Most of what we do is related to therapeutic massage, instrument soft tissue mobilization, or cupping. This gives us a unique opportunity to hone in our skills that are required when working in this particular setting.
Both of us have the desire to have a career working with baseball in the future, which makes this experience that much more special to us. This serves as a perfect opportunity for us to take a look into what the culture is like in a higher level of competition in this sport. So far, we have been able to immerse ourselves into the role as an athletic trainer in this league with a large commitment of hours and care for our athletes. We look forward to the rest of our summer and everything that we’re about to learn.
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.