It’s not easy to get placed with NFL teams — but athletic training students are building an impressive record for Central College. Seth Eash of Kalona, Iowa, completed an internship with the Green Bay Packers before returning for his third year in Central’s athletic training program. Eash is the latest beneficiary of the program’s alumni network — and a successful contender for a coveted internship.
Eash landed the placement thanks to Nate Weir ’05, assistant athletic trainer for the Packers. Weir asked John Roslien, associate professor of exercise science, to recommend capable Central students, and Roslien encouraged Eash to apply. Weir also studied athletic training at Central, and Roslien helped him secure an internship with the Packers in 2004. Weir returned for a second internship in 2005, then took his current position in 2007.
In Green Bay, Eash helped monitor for injuries, provide treatments, set up and tear down practice equipment, and made sure athletes stayed hydrated. “This internship let me apply all the skills I have learned in class and clinical settings to a professional environment,” Eash says. “It improved my confidence in these skills tenfold.”
While picking up new techniques, Eash also enjoyed spending time with the team. “One of my favorite parts about the experience was to be able to get to know the players as people,” he says. “Most of the time we see them as personas they carry on the field, so it was great to see these professional football players are just like anyone else.”
Other athletic training students have also completed internships with professional sports teams in recent years. Marcus Sojka ’10 also interned with the Packers, and Blaze Smith ’15 completed two internships with the Detroit Lions. “We have a long history of being able to place students with pro teams — the NFL, major league baseball, professional soccer,” says Roslien.
The opportunities depend on Central’s connections, and alumni help build the network that makes it possible. “Without the connection to Nate Weir, I would not have had this incredible opportunity,” says Eash. “Not only was this a taste of almost exactly what I would like to do for a professional career, but I also made connections with some very respected members of athletic training and sports medicine circles. Reaffirming my choice this way and networking will help open many doors in my future.”
That’s all Central students need, Roslien says — they’re more than capable of proving themselves skilled. “These internships are very hard to get, very selective. We recommend students who are going to do a good job,” he says. “We find a way to open the door, and the students take care of the rest.”