What surprised Abigail Solis most about her internship as an athletic trainer with the NFL’s Washington Redskins was how down to earth the players seemed.
On the practice fields during spring mini camp, players asked Solis where they should vacation and what she thinks about singer Taylor Swift.
“It’s different from seeing them on TV,” Solis says. “They’re normal people.”
Solis, a senior athletic training major, is believed to be the Redskins’ first female athletic training academic intern and will work home games in the pre- and regular seasons.
Not a bad way to finish her final semester before graduating in December.
It’s also “a huge step for the profession,” said Professor Amanda Caswell, coordinator of the Athletic Training Education Program in Mason’s School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism. “It’s an opportunity to place a student who is going to pave the way for future female athletic training students.”
“The opportunities I’ve had here are a lot different than they would have been somewhere else,” says Solis. “Other schools, I’ve heard, do all their clinicals within that facility.”
Solis, on the other hand, is in her sixth internship, including three at area high schools.
With the Redskins, Solis has done a little bit of everything, says Doug Quon, the team’s assistant athletic trainer and Solis’ supervisor.
Solis helped set up the treatment room, stretched players before and after practice, and did pre-practice taping. She also did the grunt work, such as stocking and organizing supplies, and carting the 10-gallon water containers that kept players hydrated around the practice fields.
“I thought it was going to be, like, ‘You can’t treat that player,’” Solis said. “But it’s not that way.”
If Solis gains her athletic training certification in October, she can be even more involved in treating injuries.
For now, though, after enduring jokes from co-workers about getting her own bathroom, and players goodnaturedly wondering if she could handle the heavy water containers, Solis, in a sense, is one of the guys.
“She’s done a great job,” Quon says. “She’s maintained a professional image and demeanor and gained the trust of the players.”