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Unforgettable Internship Shows How Athletic Training Sets Students Up for Success

Elizabeth Hutchins '19 working on a male student-athlete
Senior athletic training student Elisabeth Hutchins recalls her memorable summer internship at Northwestern.
2/1/2019
Elizabeth Hutchins '19 treating a student-athlete

Elisabeth Hutchins ’19 was scrolling through her Instagram feed two summers ago when she stumbled upon an intriguing post. Staring at the Endicott College athletic training student (ATS) was an internship opportunity of a lifetime, one that would lead her to the Northwestern University Sports Medicine team the following summer.

The Wolfeboro, N.H., native and transfer student, had no ties to Illinois, but the opportunity to work with NCAA Division I athletes intrigued her. Hutchins already had an extensive professional background through the College’s four-year internship model, but she felt compelled to inquire about the opportunity.

Fast forward a year, and Hutchins was putting the rigorous coursework and clinicals she experienced at Endicott to the test with the Wildcats football team.

“The Endicott College athletic training education program provided me the resources, education, and clinical experiences to have the confidence in my skills and knowledge,” recalls Hutchins in a paper about her internship. “By the end of junior year, I had the foundation for success as all my core athletic training courses had been completed.”

A Leading Athletic Training Program

Most Endicott ATS complete between 1,200-1,400 hours of clinical rotations, which are spread throughout all four undergraduate years as part of the College’s nationally-recognized internship experience.

Freshman Year: By the end of year one, ATS already have 125 hours of internship on their resume and know the ins and outs of the profession thanks to 25 hours of observation with an Endicott athletic training staff member and 100 hours as part of the traditional freshman internship during either the winter or summer break.

Sophomore Year: Clinical education begins during the fall semester. Students complete a minimum of 75 hours rotating between the different Endicott sports to get introduced to the field and a better sense of the environment. They also do at least 75 hours in the spring, however this time with two sports to gain more continuity.

Junior Year: During this clinical education experience, students go off campus for a 125-hour rotation at a local high school. They return with a noticeable confidence in their skills and apply them to spring semester as an ATS for one of the Endicott teams. Students are required to spend 125 hours with the spring team but often go above and beyond with 175-200 hours.

Senior Year: All Endicott students complete a semester-long internship during the fall of senior year. ATS can complete theirs with one of the Endicott teams or at one of our local partners, which include NCAA Division I-Division III schools. Accommodations can be made if students want to work with a winter sports team, as Hutchins is doing with the women’s ice hockey team. Then they do four more short rotations during the spring—36 hours with a physical therapist, one day shadowing an orthopedic surgeon, one day shadowing a general medical doctor, and one day in of emergency care in an ambulance with EMTs—before graduating.

“We encourage them to get involved and become comfortable speaking professionally with their patients and clients from the beginning of freshman year,” says Kevin Rooney, clinical coordinator of athletic training. “Just getting used to introducing yourself to an athlete and asking how can I help you. It’s encouraged to have our students actively communicate with the athletes here. And I think they are receptive to it, as well.”

Our students continue to impress when it comes to the Board of Certification exam. Endicott’s three-year aggregate pass rate on the first attempt is 97 percent, including 100 percent last year. The national average is 83 percent. The dedication of our students, the rigorous curriculum, and the always-helpful staff are just a few reasons why this rate continues to outpace other schools.

They see the name Endicott in the application and they recognize us. So these places give our students considerable look.

“I think our program success shows when you’ve seen what our alumni have done and where they are going,” says Rooney. “We have many successful alumni within a variety of areas of athletic training. They’re in the high school setting, industrial setting, any level of collegiate sports as an ATC or teaching professional, clinics, hospitals, and professional sports.”

“They’ve gone on to get advanced degrees in physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, and nursing. Our students have been successful in a number of different areas, and I think it’s reflected in the types of reputable programs they are getting into. They see the name Endicott in the application and they recognize us. So these places give our students considerable look.”

Elizabeth Hutchins '19 at Northwestern University

Back at Northwestern

Hutchins’ intern shifts were long, yet rewarding. Here’s just a sampling of her responsibilities, as she recalled in the paper:

  • Administering hydration tests
  • Musculoskeletal/injury evaluations
  • Rehabilitation plan explanations
  • Moving to the new state-of-the-art Walter Athletic Center
  • Going with the athletes to medical appointments and taking notes
  • An injury matrix project
  • Modalities like laser, blood flow restriction therapy, hydrotherapy, underwater treadmill, altered gravity treadmill, and NordBord for hamstring strengthening and testing
  • Attending new medical product and device presentations
  • Observing emergency training scenarios and spending a few days with the performance nutrition program, which she hopes to pursue as a graduate assistant in dietetics and sports nutrition

“Gaining numerous patient contact hours at Northwestern has helped me connect with the student-athletes that I see at Endicott College with ease,” writes Hutchins in her paper. “Additionally, I am able to bring back new skills and different variations of skills and exercises that benefit my peers and student-athletes.

“I am able to bring the knowledge back to Endicott and improve student-athlete rehabilitation and inform my peers on the new research. Overall, my confidence in my clinical skills and knowledge base has improved tremendously.”

You, too, could experience the internship of a lifetime as a student in Endicott’s athletic training program. Learn more about what the program and the School of Sport Science & Fitness offer at endicott.edu.

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