Article reposted from Republican Herald
Author: KEVIN KEATING
Many Americans will gather around their TVs, order wings and pizza and down a few adult beverages to watch Super Bowl LI this evening.
Most of them residing outside of New England and not placing wagers on the game probably will hope for an Atlanta Falcons victory.
Trevor Lotz, a 2013 Pottsville graduate and current Slippery Rock University senior, will be counted among those Falcons fans after a unique and enriching experience last summer.
An athletic training major, Lotz interned as an athletic trainer with Atlanta during the preseason for 6-7 weeks from late July through early September.
“I’ll be watching from the early morning, pre-game and through the entire game,” Lotz said during a phone interview Saturday. “I’m definitely going to be rooting for the Falcons the whole way. I made a lot of connections with them. … I always want to see them do really well.”
The opportunity to work in the NFL and with Atlanta specifically came about through networking at Slippery Rock.
Eric Avila, an assistant athletic trainer with the Falcons and a Slippery Rock graduate, spoke during Lotz’s junior year at the western Pennsylvania school. Lotz approached Avila and inquired about internship opportunities, and Avila encouraged him to apply.
“This past summer, I was cutting grass at Mountain Valley (Golf Course). Eric called and offered the internship on the spot,” Lotz said. “The great alumni network that Slippery Rock has put me in position to get something like that.
“Professional sports (athletic training) is definitely what I want to do. I had an idea of that before I did the internship with (Atlanta). This is something that I really could be interested in. Once I got to work in the NFL and I got the taste of it, it really solidified it for me.”
Lotz said he believed the Falcons could have a successful season based upon working with the team during the preseason.
“Offensively, they have a lot of talent. Defensively, they start a lot of rookies,” Lotz said. “These rookies came together. They were giving 100 percent every play, playing their position, playing their role. They made you work. They shut some things down this year, that’s why they’re in the position they are now.”
The size and athletic ability of the Falcons left a lasting impression on Lotz. It also provided the 22-year old insight on how to alter his athletic training for larger athletes since he hasn’t encountered those of such significant size during his work at the NCAA Division II level.
“Working with such a fast level when I come back to a smaller school, it really helps slow things down and I’m able to get a better perspective on things,” Lotz said.
He admits working with that caliber of athlete was an eye opener initially.
“It was a little overwhelming at first,” Lotz said. “You walk in there Day 1 and you see just the pure size of these guys. Then you go out there on the field and see their athleticism. You see the things they’re capable of doing.”
Lotz certainly appreciated the opportunity, as well as the help and support he’s received along the way from his parents, Jim and Maureen, Pottsville High athletic trainers Dan Slotterback and Jim Lord and the faculty at Slippery Rock.
After finishing up his undergraduate education, Lotz will move on to West Virginia University in the fall to pursue a Masters of Science degree in athletic training and intern with a local high school while studying.
One day, Lotz hopes to be working full-time in the NFL.
“Division I sports at a college level would also be something that I’d be interested in,” Lotz said. “Professional sports (athletic training) is definitely my goal.”
Name: Trevor Lotz
Family: Parents, Jim and Maureen
Education: Slippery Rock University senior; 2013 graduate of Pottsville Area High School
Experience: Summer intern with Atlanta Falcons as athletic trainer