Nakamura did her internship through a Florida hospital that in turn provides trainers for Disney Wide World of Sports, an organization that Nakamura says lives up to its name. "A lot of the events here are international – I worked recently with soccer teams from Ecuador, Argentina, all around the world," she notes. "I've worked with track teams, wrestlers, softball and basketball players, camps sponsored by a national athletic organizations and ESPN," Nakamura explained. "Most of the athletes were between the ages of 7 and 19, but we athletes up into their 60s."
The diversity of athletes is matched by the diversity of the job duties. "The teams come with coaches, but often don't have trainers or medics. So we do athletic training in addition to first aid and emergency care Nakamura says. "We don’t do rehab, but we do injury recognition and evaluation and we supervise all the DWWS events."
It all translates to a lot of work. "We do have a lot of injuries. During AAU wrestling tournament, we had a lot of C-spine injuries. Myself, I've seen a lot of concussions, shoulder dislocation, possible factures," Nakamura says. "One negative to this program is that we can’t follow up with the athletes. But we had opportunities to make"alpha" calls – that's code for the ambulance."
Nakamura credits the internship with providing a valuable link between her classroom education and her future career. "A lot of injuries, I learned what to do in class, but I never saw it. Now I’ve seen it. And in a clinical setting, we can’t panic. We have to make the athlete comfortable and be efficient with our care."
The Disney program is competitive, but Nakamura is comfortable working with some of the country's brightest students. "I have strengths that I can see I got from Albion.
Unfortunately, rehabilitation wasn't done at DWWS, but I was able to perform many manual therapies, such as PNF stretching and muscle energy, that I learned from athletic training faculties and staff at Albion College. It was a joy seeing athletes jumping off the treatment table, excited to play games pain free."