UD athletic training students, alumni working with NFL teams
11:36 a.m., Oct. 2, 2014--The first few weeks of the 2014 NFL season saw stars like Robert Griffin III, Ryan Mathews, and Dennis Pitta go down with play-stopping injuries to arms, knees, hips, and ankles.
Athletic trainers are usually the first professionals on the scene when players are hurt on the field, and a number of University of Delaware athletic training students have had a front-row seat to the treatment of injuries in the NFL through internships and full-time employment.
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“We’ve developed such a good relationship with NFL teams over the past decade that we’re sending eight to ten students out every year,” says Tom Kaminski, professor and director of UD’s Athletic Training Education Program. “I think it speaks to the quality of our students, at all levels from sophomores to seniors. Some of them have been invited back all three years by the same teams.”
Kaminski points to three key components for students who work the NFL camps: “an unbelievable passion for what they’re doing, a great work ethic, and a very strong skill set.”
“Each team has three or four athletic trainers,” he says. “They’re a close-knit group, and word has gotten around that our students are good.”
The current tally is two alumni working as full-time NFL athletic trainers and three as seasonal interns, as well as eight students serving as summer interns.
Steve Feldman, now an assistant trainer with the Philadelphia Eagles, graduated from UD in 2009 and then went on to complete a doctor of physical therapy degree at Delaware as well.
“The Athletic Training Education Program provides its students with the highest level of fundamental background knowledge and skills required at the professional level,” Feldman says. “As a freshman, I saw three students participate in NFL training camp internships, and I knew immediately that I wanted to do that too. The summer before my junior and senior years, I spent in training camp with the Seattle Seahawks, where I sharpened my skills and made lasting friendships. The internship in Seattle as well as my AT and PT education opened the door for me to join the staff of the Eagles in 2013, where I have put that education to work in helping our athletes stay on the field.”
Kaminski explains that the ATEP program begins with an “athletic training interest” in the freshman year. Once students are accepted into the program as sophomores, they begin working directly with the athletes and are given increasing freedom as they progress through the program.
Senior Evan Griskowitz has completed three summer internships with the Seahawks, which he says enabled him to experience athletic training at the professional level and learn from some of the best trainers in the profession.
“You learn new techniques and exercises that you can apply to your own athletes back at UD,” he says. “Delaware does a great job preparing you for an NFL internship by giving you the opportunity to get some hands-on experience right away.”
Uriah Myrie, a seasonal intern with the Buffalo Bills, says that it wasn’t until he left UD that he realized how strong the program is.
“After spending two summers with the Carolina Panthers and working side by side with students from other programs, I felt that the staff and faculty at UD had prepared me with the tools to be at a great advantage,” he says.
“It wasn’t only the academic curriculum that helped to prepare me, but also the values that are essential to success in athletic training. The structure of the program encouraged work ethic, accountability, pride and passion for practice.”
Kaminski envisions the NFL connection continuing to expand as the network of UD students and alumni in the league grows.
“It’s tough to see our favorite stars injured,” he says. “But it’s really gratifying to know that skilled athletic trainers can make a difference in the minutes right after an injury happens.”
UD Athletic Training in the NFL
Full-time athletic trainers
- Steve Feldman, assistant trainer with the Philadelphia Eagles
- John Hernandez, assistant trainer with the Buffalo Bills
Full-time seasonal interns
- Harrison Grube, Seattle Seahawks
- Corey Lopez, Chicago Bears
- Uriah Myrie, Buffalo Bills
Student summer interns
- Tyler Golembrosky (junior), Atlanta Falcons
- Evan Griskowitz (senior), Seattle Seahawks
- Chris Marroquin (senior), Buffalo Bills
- Anthony Morse (senior), Baltimore Ravens
- Patrick Morton (senior), Washington Redskins
- Michael Stant (junior), Carolina Panthers
- Cody Walker (senior), San Diego Chargers
- Brian Winkler (junior), Seattle Seahawks
Article by Diane Kukich
Photos courtesy of Steve Feldman and Harrison Grube