Training the Future Trainers

Training the Future Trainers

By: Jackson Tacka

If you have ever been to the athletic training room you may have noticed a college student assisting Athletic Trainers Mrs. Lori Bristow and Mr. Nick Pitruzzella. Each semester, a student majoring in Athletic Training at Towson University interns at Gilman in the training room. Mr. Nick Pitruzzella explained the importance of having an intern in the training room, “The student athletes they usually see are more mature physically and mentally, so coming to Gilman gives them the opportunity to see dynamics that they otherwise would not experience in the collegiate setting.” The interns are given the tasks of setting up rehab programs for athletes who have extensive injuries, overseeing home games, and helping out in the training room.

The in-class course, working co-curricularly with the internship program, is set up as an option to complete coursework for students studying to be an Athletic Trainer. This major sets students up to be athletic trainers as well as physical therapists. Internships are not specific to Gilman and are not even specific to the high school level; students that choose to take the opportunity to partake in the internship may work at schools such as Gilman, McDonogh, Loyola Blakefield, St. Paul's, Friends, Loyola University Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, and several others. The program has been around at Towson University for over thirty years, however Gilman has participated in the internship for twenty years. The internship position at Gilman has not always been held by a Towson student; in the past, there have also been students from Salisbury University.

The internship has helped the students get the feel for the hands on work they will face as athletic trainers. The relationships fostered during the internships have helped students propel their careers, giving them opportunities to work at high schools, colleges, and possibly at the professional level. Currently there are 54 students enrolled in the Athletic Trainer program at Towson University.

The current intern at Gilman from Towson University, Peter Turner, plans to become a physical therapist after graduating. He explained, “This major has set numerous students up for future jobs in high school and college settings while also setting up students to go into postgraduate programs like Graduate Assistant positions at colleges, physical therapy school, and physicians assistant programs.” He has had the opportunity over the course of studying to witness surgeries, set up rehab and physical therapy programs, and work with game injuries. Some challenges Peter has faced over the course of studying for his include juggling a semester worth of classes and working 20 hours a week as a result of the internship. Although this challenge may be daunting, Peter’s experience as well as the other interns in the Athletic Training program has been rewarding.