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Athletic training graduate interns with Chicago Bears

Posted: Sep 12, 2012

2012-09-11_Micah Gerhart, intern with Bears
Micah Gerhart (orange shirt & white cap) assists Dedrick Epps (#85) during 2012 Bears Training Camp at Olivet
Taping ankles, making mouthpieces, checking hydration, standing in the blazing August sun on the practice fields at Olivet. A dream come true? For Micah Gerhart ’12, it certainly is.

Starting May 21, 2012, when he reported to Halas Hall in Chicago, and continuing with Training Camp at Olivet, Micah is living out his dream of working in professional sports with the Chicago Bears.

“I knew I was going to be learning from professionals, but I didn’t know they would be so intentional and helpful,” Micah says. “Trainers Chris [Hanks], Bobby [Slater], Will [Rogers] and Jeremy [Smith] are teaching the other interns and me techniques that we’ll be able to use in our future careers.”

During Training Camp, Micah works closely with the trainers, physicians and players. Up at 5 a.m., he is in the training room by 7.

As the players lift weights or participate in morning rehab or practice sessions, he stays nearby. “We determine hydration needs for each player,” he says. “And we keep a chart for each of them. Different body types and different positions on the field matter.”

Micah’s day switches into high gear around 12:30 p.m., when he stocks the practice field tent and the golf carts with water, Gatorade and ice.

By 2:00, he meets his position group, the running backs, on the field. He talks with them to see how they’re feeling and what they might need, and then assists them with stretching until the horn blows to start practice.

Micah stays with the players throughout their hours of practice. He makes sure they have their mouthpieces and retapes any ankles or wrists when needed. If he sees a problem, he alerts one of his superiors.

“My job is to help the players stay as safe as possible,” Micah says. “Even when I’m tired, I give my best.”

After practice, Micah assists the trainers and doctor as they evaluate the players’ needs. At 5 p.m., after cleaning up the training room and restocking for the next day, he and the other interns meet with Will to debrief, get feedback and plan.

“Olivet has an excellent and very demanding sports medicine program,” Micah says. “At Olivet, I was doing things my sophomore year that interns from other schools didn’t do until they were juniors.

“I have the knowledge and abilities to fit right in as a professional with the Bears. It’s easy to do what I was taught, especially when I worked as a trainer for Tiger football with B.J. Geasa [Olivet’s head athletic trainer].

“My goal was to work in a professional sports setting. Olivet prepared me up to accomplish that goal.”