Making the Cut: Part III Keys to Success
In this three part series, PFATS.com interviews five NFL assistant athletic trainers to talk about NFL Internships. Over the next three weeks our panel will discuss the how an NFL internship can enhance students professionally, the application process, and keys to being a successful as an intern in the NFL.
Our panel consists of:
Tyler Williams – Assistant Athletic Trainer, St. Louis Rams
Shone Gipson – Assistant Athletic Trainer, Buffalo Bills
David Glover – Assistant Athletic Trainer, Kansas City Chiefs
Leigh Weiss – Assistant Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist, New York Giants
Nate Weir – Assistant Athletic Trainer, Green Bay Packers
Part III - Keys to Success as an NFL Athletic Training Intern
PFATS.com: What should an intern to do in order to become successful in the field of athletic training?
TW: Continue to build your skill set as an athletic trainer while providing the most cutting edge and quality medical care to your athletes. Continually build your network and establish relationships in the field.
SG: Be willing to work hard and be a good person. I received that advice from a former NFL athletic trainer and it has stayed with me my entire career.
DG: Be a sponge and soak up as much knowledge as they can. I believe athletic training is the best profession out there and continuing to push your skills and expand on what you learned not just in the classroom but on the job is invaluable. Always ask questions. Keep a journal of the things you learned and write down the things you would like to know more about. Be inquisitive a look to work on the things you don’t feel as strong in. Whether that be rehab, taping or evaluation, use the internship as a platform to elevate your expertise in the field of athletic training.
LW: Learn from everyone and every experience. Again, what you get out of this internship is dependent on the level of commitment you put in. Ask questions, but ask them at the appropriate time. Research techniques or ideas which you are exposed to that you may not know a lot about. Utilize your resources! In the NFL there are ton of resources, athletic trainers, physical therapists, physicians, chiropractors, nutritionists, strength coaches, and the list goes on.
NW: The intern is in control of their success in the field of athletic training. What you put in is what you get out. Be willing to work hard and learn something new every day on the job. Always stay current with the field of athletic training.
PFATS.com: How do I take full advantage of an NFL internship?
TW: Have attention to detail and work as hard as you can…in the whole picture it is only about 5 weeks and it will go fast, so make the most of every day.
SG: Gain as much knowledge as you possibly can while you are with your team and ask appropriate questions at the right time. Also, be sure to take advantage of the resources you have at your disposal. The vast array of treatment modalities and knowledge you have access to is second to none.
DG: By having a tireless work ethic and a hunger for knowledge.
LW: Keep your eyes and ears open at all times. Work hard, ask questions, and take initiative. Be on time! Build relationships and your network. Never burn bridges. Learn from everybody, staff members, physicians, and other students.
NW: Work hard and be willing to learn. Ask questions (at the appropriate time) and take full advantage of the environment and the professionals who are around you. Set goals about what you want to accomplish and learn during your internship. Most importantly HAVE FUN and take full advantage of the opportunity.
PFATS.com: Do teams offer other internship opportunities following a summer or seasonal internship?
TW: Clubs usually offer seasonal internships which can consist of 1 or 2 year positions.
SG: I can’t speak for other individuals, but here at the Bills we offer a yearlong internship position, normally reserved for an individual who has either completed a summer internship position or someone who has gained some experience working as a graduate assistant. In speaking with a few colleagues around the NFL, they follow a similar pattern as well.
DG: The Chiefs in particular do not but I don’t want to speak on behalf of any other team.
LW: Each team is different. The Giants offer summer training camp and seasonal internship positions. We often offer opportunities for local undergraduate athletic training students during Mini-Camps and OTAs.
NW: We offer two seasonal and four summer internship positions. Interns who do well always have an opportunity to be asked back for another position in future training camps or seasons.
PFATS.com: What are your expectations for a summer or seasonal intern in the NFL?
TW: Hardworking, eager to learn, attention to detail, and committed.
SG: My expectations are pretty straight forward. I want our interns to serve our team to the best of his or her ability and to represent our team and the National Football League with pride and respect.
DG: I always like to find out what the student hopes to get out of the experience. Then I try to make sure they get that and more. I want the student to walk away from this experience feeling that we gave them the tools and skills to make them a better athletic trainer. I want each student to be confident that they can leave this experience and handle any situation regardless of the sport. Being and athletic trainer is what defines you, not the level or sport you work. Be able to give your athletes the best of yourself each and every day.
LW: First and foremost, we expect our interns to come in an appropriately represent the New York Giants, their University and themselves in a positive manner. We expect them to put the healthcare of the athlete above all. We want them to work hard, but most importantly learn and leave our internship as a better person and professional. We hope our interns have an enjoyable experience, build professional networks, and function as part of a team with the other interns.
NW: We expect our interns to be professional at all times representing themselves, their college and the Green Bay Packers. We expect that our interns are willing to work hard and efficiently, grow personally and professionally and learn something new every day they are here.