September 13, 2018

Scholar Voices: My Summer Internship with the Los Angeles Rams

This past summer, I was granted the opportunity to work as an intern in the athletic training department for the Los Angeles Rams. This opportunity was beyond phenomenal because when I was a child the game of football and the way the players would move with such grace and body control always intrigued me. The thought of working alongside professional athletic trainers, doctors and high-caliber athletes gave me another reason to be enthusiastic about summer.

As the academic year came to an end and the long-anticipated summer finally arrived, it was time to begin orientation and training. During my training, I participated in various skill-building workshops that would help me navigate my internship in the athletic training department. My favorite workshop was the DISC communication workshop, which revolved around discovering my communication style and how to interact with people who have other communication styles.

The workshop consisted of four categories: dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance. My test results placed me under the compliance and steadiness categories, which suggested that I was a more dependable and objective thinker in my communication style. It was amazing to see the other interns’ expressions as they analyzed their results and tried to share with their partner what style of communication they identified with. Our facilitator, Joe Jotkowitz, emphasized that the message is not that our communication styles are set in stone, but can be incorporated into various communication styles to see other people’s perspectives.

After the workshops and the training, it was time to put my skills to the test. I arrived at 6 A.M. on my first day at the LA Rams Training Camp eager to see what the day would hold. I was overwhelmed by how much behind-the-scenes work goes into preparing for a single day of practice. From player treatments to field preparation, the day was filled with fast-paced work and constant learning.

One of the things that was reiterated to me throughout the day was “We not Me” which was the Rams slogan for the Training Camp. They emphasized that when everyone works together we all succeed more, as opposed to individual success. One of the head interns, Mark, gave the example of how the training room is not run by one person but by multiple people all working together toward a common goal, to get every player healthy for training camp and the season.

It was around 7:30 p.m. that the first day came to an end. I was exhausted but thrilled because it was the first of a four-week training camp. While I cannot share certain experiences from the camp due to privacy purposes, I will say that one of my favorite memories is one between the athletic training staff and the players telling jokes and having fun before practice. It was quite simple, but it was eye-opening because as a football fanatic I viewed these players with such high appraisal and admiration because they were being paid to play the game I loved. Watching them joke and laugh just reminded me that they are just as regular as me. I will never forget the jokes they told nor the atmosphere in the training room.

I worked closely alongside athletic trainers and team doctors who exposed me to new information regarding anatomical mechanisms of the body and rehabilitative equipment. It was extraordinary to see the similarities between the methods used by the National Football League (NFL) athletic trainers and the athletic trainers in my sports medicine program at the University of California, Irvine.

One of concepts I learned was to use a kong, a simple dog toy, to help with ankle mobility and stabilization. The patient would step on the kong with the base of their foot while the trainer would externally rotate their calcaneus and roll the top of their foot at the same time. This motion created a sort of reconditioning in the ankle so after performing the exercise on the patients’ foot they would notice a distinct difference when they walk. The athletic trainer described it as walking “the right way.”

Being able to shadow and observe the athletic trainers and doctors allowed me to gain more knowledge and expertise in the athletic training field, which will benefit me in my career goal of being a physician. This type of hands-on experience and working in a high pace work setting will make me more versatile and competitive on my journey to becoming a physician.

Being an Earl Woods Scholar has given me the necessary skills and confidence to pursue opportunities such as this one. The Earl Woods Scholar team has provided me with mock interviews and résumé-building workshops as well as many others that have allowed me to develop such a strong profile for myself. I am so grateful and appreciative to be part of such a prestigious program that strives for student success.

Redefining what it means to be a champion.