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11 Tips for Success as an NFL Athletic Training Intern

11 Things That Make a Successful NFL Athletic Training Intern

by John Michel, Athletic Training Intern, Green Bay Packers


1.  Pay attention to the little things: When you work on a task (treatments, practice, or day to day duties) work on the details of that task, not just the big picture. This will improve the outcome of that task as well as your craft as an athletic trainer.

Example: When someone comes in for a treatment, learn what steps your supervisor takes for specific injuries. Once you know this, you can prep for treatments more effectively.


2.  Work hard: This one seems to be a given, but it should be said. When given the opportunity to be in this field, you should put time and effort into it. Days get long and you will probably get tired, but show that you want to be there through your work.

Example: Show up ten minutes earlier than needed. This will give you time to prepare and get a head start on the day.


3.  Dedication: If you want to be a successful intern in the NFL, you need to dedicate yourself to getting there. Go the extra mile to stand out. Every opportunity you have to gain experience in the athletic training realm, do it, it can only make you better.

Example: If you are offered the opportunity to work an event and it is your day off, accept the opportunity. Those decisions are the ones that will pay off in the long run.


4.  Set goals: If you struggle in a specific realm of athletic training or you want to improve in an area, set goals based on bettering yourself at those things.  Setting goals will hold you accountable to make a change.

Example: If you feel as if your rehabilitation skills are not up to par, watch and see the cues for certain exercises, ask why those cues are relevant, and commit that exercise and reasoning to memory. Push yourself into it and tell yourself you will do that twice a day.


5.   Be personable: Much of this profession is the ability to connect with athletes and the people around us. Listen when someone is talking to you, and most importantly, show them that you are listening. Always be sincere in your comments, don’t just say things to say things. Know when to engage yourself in a conversation and know when it is not appropriate.MLB_3745

Example: Make conversation when sitting with an athlete or co-worker about something that is of personal interest to them.  Try to remember things from previous conversations.


6.  Have a great attitude: If you can show up every day with a great attitude this will go a long way. If the day has you down or the people around you seem grim, keep a positive mindset. This will make you more productive and pleasurable to work with.

Example: Wake up to a funny video or a good quote to put yourself in the right mindset. Tell yourself that no matter what happens that day that you will stay positive.


7.   Learn as much as you can: The word internship means “any period of time during which a beginner acquires experience in an occupation, profession, or pursuit.”  The time you have with an organization is precious; gain all of the knowledge that you can. Do not take it for granted. Example: Make a list of the things that you want to learn, and seek out the individuals and experiences that can teach you.


8.  Use your time wisely: There are a limited number of hours in one day.  If you want to be productive and thorough, you need to be effective at managing your time.

Example: Make a check list of the things that you have to get done for each day.  Put your tasks in a sensible order and execute them to the best of your ability. This will help you stay on track and open up time to get other things done.


9.  Help others: If a responsibility does not fall under your duties, do not be afraid to lend a helping hand. It takes everyone as a group to be successful.

Example: If you see something that you can do to help someone, do not hesitate to offer your assistance. Strive to avoid the mindset of “that is not my responsibility.”


10.  Be accountable: Take pride in your responsibilities and complete them to the best of your ability. Accept new responsibilities as they are offered. Remember that if you are being offered more responsibilities, you must be doing something right.

Example: Responsibilities will be split up, make sure that your duties are done to the best of your ability and meticulously. Do your part and do it right.


11.   Learn from your mistakes: If you make a mistake, learn from it, and try to never make the same mistake twice.

Example: If you perform a task wrong, no matter how big or small, take the time to learn how to do it right. Do not create bad habits by making the same mistake over and over.





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