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Pioneer lands prestigious NFL internship

Alec Stahly offered prestigious seasonal NFL internship after graduation.

This August, athletic training major Alec Stahly completed a five-week internship with the Kansas City Chiefs at the NFL’s summer training camp in St. Joseph, Missouri. Impressed by a strong performance, the Chiefs offered Stahly a second internship, only this time he will leave the training camp and head to a stadium in service of the full 2016 pro-football season. Stahly said he is humbled by the offer and plans to accept.

“Simply having the NFL on a resume sets you apart,” Stahly said. “The internship is highly sought after, and that’s just for the summer training camp. A full NFL season internship—now that’s even more prestigious.”

The NFL prefers that all athletic training interns participating in the full season obtain a standardized certification, as well as pass the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification Exam. Stahly plans on achieving both certifications after graduation in 2016.

Stahly said he was first inspired to apply with the NFL after witnessing Brandon Harvey—also an athletic training major—find success as an intern with the San Francisco 49ers. Eager to find his own success, Stahly began to apply for athletic training internships with a number of different teams, many of whom claim to receive approximately 250 applicants per year. Despite such daunting numbers, Stahly said he remained both realistic and determined. The student's big break came when Jimmy Ntelekos, clinical coordinator for the athletic training program at MNU, submitted his recommendation on behalf of Stahly to the KC Chiefs—a team which Ntelekos had worked for in the past.

Stahly also credits Brendon Powers, clinical coordinator for the athletic training program, for helping him land the position.

“Brendon was also a seasonal intern for the Chiefs,” Stahly said. “His recommendation helped tremendously.”

Stahly said his schedule during the internship was both demanding and rewarding. The student was required to be at the playing field 12 to 13 hours per day with no time off. His duties consisted primarily of identifying and reporting injuries on the field, attending to emergency equipment, as well as assisting medical staff with the rehabilitation of injured players. Due to his status as an uncertified intern, Stahly is not authorized to directly treat NFL players, but said the opportunity for observation and assistance during incidents of injury provided him with valuable field experience.

 One of the most prominent Chiefs players Stahly had the chance to work with is free safety Eric Berry. According to the Kansas City Star, Berry was diagnosed last year with Hodgkin’s lymphoma—a type of cancer which starts in the lymphatic system. On July 28th, just eight months after his initial diagnosis, Berry made a public announcement saying he is free of cancer after a series of successful radiation and chemotherapies. Stahly said it was an honor not only to work with Berry, but to watch the player complete his first preseason interception after facing off with cancer.

“To see someone overcome that kind of adversity and continue to play at such a level was really inspiring,” Stahly said, “not only to me, but to the whole team.”

Stahly said Berry’s bravery both on and off the playing field demonstrates why he chose to become an athletic training major.

“Sometimes the grind of getting someone through something like this is challenging,” Stahly said, “but the reward is when you see them go back out and continue to do what they love.”

Stahly is currently working as an intern with the Eagles varsity football team at Olathe North High School. This latest training experience for the student is part of MNU’s mandatory offsite sports rotation for athletic training majors. During his time with the Eagles, Stahly works directly under the supervision of Wayne Harmon—the designated sports trainer from Olathe Medical Center who oversees ON’s athletic programs. Under Harmon’s supervision, Stahly said he is allowed a wider degree of participation in the treatment of players when compared to his time with the Chiefs, but still takes the responsibility equally as serious.

“The thing you have to keep in mind is, to their parents, these kids are still worth millions of dollars,” Stahly said. “It’s still a huge responsibility.’”

Christopher Crawford, assistant professor of athletic training at MNU, believes Stahly will excel in the field.

“Plain and simple, Alec rocks” Crawford said. “I believe he has the potential to do incredible things. He is an outstanding athletic training student and an even better young man.”


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