Giants Athletic Training Interns Recap their Training Camp Experience!
PFATS.com interviews the New York Giants 2013 Training Camp interns about their experience and advice for future NFL summer interns:
Responses are provided by:
Zach Miller, West Virginia University
Tony Walukonis, Michigan State University
Neil Ehlers, UCONN
Brenn Bolding, High Point University
PFATS.com: What would you take away most from this experience?
ZM: Learning never ends. Every person you come into contact with offers a new opportunity for yourself to grow as a prospective Athletic Trainer. This internship allowed me to work with the Athletic Trainers and learn their knowledge and philosophies. I was able to leave the internship with continued education on various components, from functional rehabilitation to daily operations.
TW: This internship has taught me new ways to look at what I’ve already learned in college. To learn new, unique rehabilitation exercises, functional movement patterns and techniques, different ways to do evaluations and overall general medical skills is something special. My appreciation for Athletic Training was already strong when I started, but now it has become my focused passion. I do not think there is anything more valuable than recognizing what I am passionate about.
NE: What I would take away most from this experience is that athletic training is constantly changing and evolving. I have seen that in order to be a successful athletic trainer and to be able to provide the best standard of care possible we need to stay up to date in all aspects of our field. Whether it is new policies, technologies, or research we need to be able to take in the information analyze it and choose how to best use the new information or technology that we have.
BB: What I would take away most from this experience is the importance of relationship building in this career. Building strong, trusting relationships with not only the athletes but the other staff is critical to have an efficient, top notch sports medicine program.
PFATS.com: What was the most difficult part of working in an NFL training camp?
ZM: The tempo of the NFL is much different than college. You are expected to learn the routine fast and apply it efficiently. Learning the ins and outs of the business as fast as possible while maintaining the fast-paced temp was difficult. It took a good amount of concentration to be able to adapt to these demands.
TW: I knew what I was getting into before I applied for summer internships. Most of what I heard about NFL preseason camps was that I would be working very hard for long hours every day. We were held to high expectations by the staff to work hard and to do so efficiently. Working hard was not the difficult part for me. As a matter of fact, there really was no difficult part. As long as you do what you are told, maintain a high level of professionalism, and do things efficiently, you will meet expectations. Do those three things every day and you won’t have a difficult time at all.
NE: The most difficult part of this internship was the constant grind on an NFL training camp. Working long hours day in and day out and still completing every task with speed and efficiency is very taxing and hard but still do able.
BB: The most difficult part of working for a NFL training camp would be getting used to the long hours and the high demands that come with the job. It was quite a change of pace coming from the collegiate level.
PFATS.com: What is your best advice for incoming interns?
ZM: Represent yourself, your university, and your organization in the best way possible. Work hard and hustle. Complete your tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. Do not take short-cuts. Keep yourself healthy; maintain a positive mind, and appropriate attitude. Value the aspect of teamwork. Make an effort to get along with your fellow interns and work efficiently as a team. Make the most of your valuable opportunity and remain open to new ways of doing things.
TW: There are very few people who get an opportunity such as this. Be humble! This is an amazing opportunity to learn so keep an open mind. The best advice I can give you is bring a small notepad to keep in your back pocket. Take notes on anything the staff wants you to get done, anything you’ve learned, anything different/unique, or anything you have not heard of before. Enjoy both the time learning and the time you will have off. You represent yourself, your school, and the organization.
NE: The best advice I could give to incoming interns is to make the most of your time. There is so much to learn at an experience like this, but only if you put in an effort. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try new things. Talk to the staff and take what they have to offer and make it your own. An experience like this does not come along everyday and it’s up to you to make the best of it.
BB: My best advice for incoming interns would be to be prepared to work very hard for 5 weeks and to live in the moment. Enjoy every moment of it and stay humble through your experience. You get out what you put in to it.
PFATS.com: How has this experience better helped you in the field of athletic training?
ZM: This experience has brought me a great deal of new ideas. Staying hands on with the athlete is extremely beneficial as you can ‘feel’ their progression throughout rehabilitation. The athlete has to be able to continue to play at the high demands brought forth by the NFL. Whenever possible, you need to get the athlete to rehabilitate functionally to facilitate return to competition. I have learned to look at the entire picture and utilize every facet of medicine to aid in an athlete’s care.
TW: The most important lesson I learned was that knowledge and teaching is never ending in this field. Not only did I learn from the full time staff, but I learned from the other summer interns. Treatment and rehab should be tailored to the individual. I got a better feel on my strengths and weaknesses which will help me with my senior year and upcoming certification exam.
NE: This experience has bettered me in the athletic training field by showing me that when rehabbing and treating an injury you cannot put the blinders on and only focus on that injury. Yes, the injury is your main focus but you need to take into account other joints and muscles that are also affected by the injury. If the injury is not traumatic, then you need to find the underlying factors may have contributed to, or cause the injury. Being able to look and an injury as piece of the puzzle I think will make be a better clinician and athletic trainer.
BB: I have found myself much more confident while taking athletes through rehab and I have also learned how to work efficiently with day to day operations. This experience has raised my expectations of myself even higher and has given me a vision of what I want to work towards as I further my education.