UM Athletic Training Student Spends Time in Major League Baseball

Rina Kasuga - AT Graduate Student - 2017
Rina Kasuga, a first-year Athletic Training graduate student, at the Peoria Sports Complex in Arizona.

The University of Montana's Athletic Training program continues to shine through its exemplary students and their numerous accomplishments. A recent example of this program's caliber and growing reputation can be found in first-year graduate student Rina Kasuga. Taking advantage of a unique opportunity facilitated by the Japan Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (JBATS) and the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS), Rina applied for and was selected as a 2017 spring training intern for the San Diego Padres.

One of only six students selected as part of a national application for this opportunity, Rina was able to spend 10 days in Arizona at the San Diego Padres spring training facility observing the athletic training and medical staff and learning about medical care for professional athletes. There was a significant hands-on component to this experience, as well. Various therapeutic modalities were implemented by Rina and her fellow interns providing first-hand experience working with athletes at all levels of the sport. As the only spring training internship opportunity in the country, this experience provided Rina with the opportunity to work with short season rookies, developing minor league players, and seasoned professional starters. Rina was also able to network and collaborate with other medical professionals working with the athletes, such as physical therapists and massage therapists.

Rina Kasuga - AT Internship - 2017
Left to Right: Rina Kasuga, University of Montana; Yume Mashiki, Wichita State University; Yuichi Takizawa, Southern Arkansas University; Hiroshi Sagawa, Texas State University San Marcos, Texas; Yoshihiro Kojima, University of Central Missouri; Yoshiki Imazaki, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Students in the UM Athletic Training program are not unfamiliar with clinical experiences and athletic trainer-patient interactions. From day one in the graduate program, AT students are working with UM Grizzly student-athletes and other athletic trainers in the Missoula area, eventually accumulating over 1000 hours of experience by graduation. While clinical experiences outside of Missoula, like the JBATS internship, are not a program requirement, they are highly encouraged by program faculty and clinical staff. Faculty in the program strongly encourage students to seek out and apply for internships such as this one to provide students with experience and networking opportunities they may not have here in Montana. Dr. Melanie McGrath, associate professor of athletic training in the Department of Health & Human Performance, advised Rina throughout the internship process and strongly encouraged her other students to do the same. "She learned a tremendous amount about this side of our profession and some new treatment techniques as well," said McGrath.

The University of Montana’s Athletic Training Program was among the first in the nation and our leadership in the field continues today. Fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), our program and students are held to the highest professional and academic standards helping to produce the most qualified, experienced, job-ready athletic trainers in the field. To learn more about the Athletic Training program, the Department of Health & Human Performance, or the College of Education & Human Sciences at the University of Montana, please visit the website linked above or call 406.243.4911.