While many followed reports on the National Football League’s lockout for information about when to begin preparing for their fantasy draft, Albion College student Tyler Floyd, ’12, was wondering about the status of an internship to prepare him for his career.
A product of Canton, Mich., Floyd was set to become Albion’s second athletic training major to intern with the Cleveland Browns during the August training camp. Gordon Williams, who served as an assistant athletic trainer at Albion from 2006-07 and who currently serves as an assistant athletic trainer for the Browns, alerted the Albion faculty to the internship opportunity, and Mark Feger, ’11, took advantage in the 2010 preseason.
“I was worried until July 1, but I figured something was going to happen once one of the assistant athletic trainers called to finalize what day I was reporting,” Floyd recalled. “I was there two weeks before the players reported, and realized the internship was a good possibility when they were having everybody come in to help.”
The athletic training education program is an excellent example of the Albion Advantage, the College’s four-year model that help students achieve their professional goals through the thoughtful integration of academic and experienced-based learning opportunities. Albion’s accredited athletic training education program requires students to log 900 hours of clinical experience, and many of those come from working with the College’s intercollegiate teams or at local high schools. Floyd, however, wanted to have the opportunity to experience professional sports, so he applied for an internship with the Detroit Lions as well as the Browns.
Floyd prepared physically and mentally in the weeks leading up to the internship. He ran four to five days a week to have the stamina to keep up with the activity on the practice field and he made sure to review his taping and rehabilitation techniques to be ready for his first interaction with professional athletes.
“This internship requires you to be in decent shape,” Floyd said, while noting he caught a break in that the new collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players limited training camp to a full practice in the morning, a walkthrough in the afternoon, and evening meetings. “I could see how the running paid off as camp went on because I was able to get to spots quicker and I felt better coming back to campus.
“It was nerve-racking to see the players I’ve watched on TV come in and realize they want you to tape, wrap, or stretch them,” he added. “I wanted to work ahead of time to rehash everything that would be part of a ‘normal’ day – prepping athletes for practice, rehab techniques, stretching exercises. I felt prepared going in and I was confident that the players were happy with the way I was taping and getting them ready for practice.”
One benefit of working with professional athletes, Floyd said, is that they are able to assist the athletic trainer by providing feedback on how their body feels. While athletic trainers want to be sure to treat the individual as opposed to the paycheck, as Floyd put it, he was comfortable to readjust his treatment plan based on the information he was receiving from the player.
While there was concern about the players’ conditioning coming off the lockout and whether that would lead to more injuries, Floyd noted the number of injuries didn’t seem to be above normal. The normal injury activity and new training camp rules didn’t seem to shorten the typical workday, however, as he usually reported for work at 5:30 a.m. and left when meetings concluded at 10 p.m.
Now back on campus and working with the Briton football team, Floyd understands that the typical athletic training workday does not begin when his classes end; similarly, his training duties aren't done when the coach dismisses the players at the conclusion of practice.
“I understand what goes on when the players aren’t around, the prep work that needs to be done,” Floyd said. “The athletic training day is more than filling water bottles, going to practice, and going home. I saw how important it is to get ready and to keep the athletes healthy.”