Field Work: Student Interns with the Miami Dolphins

Not many students get the chance to spend a summer with the Miami Dolphins—working at the training facility, interacting with players and coaches, and traveling with the team on game days.

Daniel Reyes, a junior athletic training major at the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, did just that after he was selected from hundreds of applicants for a summer internship with the team, whose training facility is adjacent to NSU’s main campus in Davie, Florida.

For Reyes, a longtime Dolphins fan, the internship provided accelerated learning and hands-on experience.

“The most challenging aspect of the internship was the long hours,” Reyes said. “I would wake up very early and work the entire day and night, just like the rest of the team. We would set up for morning practices from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m.,” said Reyes, who helped the athletes with warm-up stretches before each practice and game of the summer pre-season.

A typical day at the training facility often didn’t end until 11:00 p.m. At night, Reyes provided therapeutic treatments to the athletes that included electric stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, iontophoresis, and other techniques. “Treatment was provided every day during normal training camp days and during game days—whenever the athletes were not in practice or meetings.

“The internship was very hands-on because we had the opportunity to work with all of the athletes individually,” Reyes said. “I had not yet seen all of the therapeutic techniques used at the facility. Having the opportunity to perform these techniques on elite athletes will help me apply them to other athletes in the future, regardless of the sport.

“This experience also helped me learn more than one way to treat a specific injury and to see a variety of injuries that I had never seen before. Now, I am now able to recognize those injuries and know how to treat them.”

Based on a player who suffered a serious shoulder injury, Reyes conducted a case study and presented his research to faculty and students at the college.

“From this internship experience, Danny was able to observe and document a clinical case incorporating the many avenues of health care within the Miami Dolphins organization,” said Pradeep Vanguri, Ph.D., associate professor at the college. “He then presented this information to his classmates and shared the knowledge of his unique clinical experience.

“Danny has also had the opportunity to work with a number of clinical instructors in athletic training,” Vanguri said. “Based on his level of commitment, he will no doubt achieve the career goals he has set for forth.”

Although the internship was hard work, there was fun, too, said Reyes, who plans to seek a one-year internship with a professional sports team after graduation, then attend graduate school and pursue a career as an athletic trainer.

“The most fun aspect was traveling with the team to other cities and being inside the stadiums that we always see on TV. There is a big difference between being on the field and watching the games on television.”

However, the “glamour” of working with professional football players quickly faded, he said.

“People look at professional athletes as amazing individuals who seem to be super human,” Reyes said. “I used to look at them like that. But after being around these athletes for several days, I found that they are people like everyone else. With an exception, of course, that they are very talented athletes and great football players.”

The greatest benefit of participating in an internship like this one, concluded Reyes, is “being around people who are extremely talented at their craft. You learn different techniques and skills, combine them with what you’ve learned in school, and make them your own.”