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Athletic Training Students Land Internships with Reds and Bengals

Bengals' Head Trainer is WC Alumnus Paul Sparling

May 8, 2013

Trevor Hooker (left) is an athletic training intern with the Cincinnati Bengals and Luke Teeters has an internship with the Reds.

Trevor Hooker (left) is an athletic training intern with the Cincinnati Bengals and Luke Teeters has an internship with the Reds.

Two Wilmington College students are joining the Big Leagues now that school is out for the summer.

WC’s acclaimed program in athletic training/sports medicine placed two of its top students in internships with major professional sports teams.

Seniors Luke Teeters and Trevor Hooker are joining the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals, respectively.

Hooker’s appointment in the National Football League renews a now 36-year tradition of WC having at least one intern annually with the Bengals that started when Paul Sparling, the Bengals’ long-time head trainer, was an athletic training student at WC.

Larry Howard, professor of athletic training and director of the College’s program, said Sparling went from WC’s AT program to become one of the National Football League’s most highly regarded head trainers.

“Paul’s been with the team for 35 years,” Howard added. “We’ve sent him such outstanding student trainers that he’s kept taking them.”

Hooker, from New Port Richey, Fla., is the son of Brian Hooker, an athletic training major from WC’s Class of 1986. Brian is an athletic trainer with a medical facility in Florida.

Trevor said his “dream job” is to work in professional sports, so the Bengals internship presents a golden opportunity for him as a paraprofessional.

“My dad did an internship with the Toronto Blue Jays, which was cool, so I’m following him with the Bengals,” Hooker said, noting he worked some Bengals’ activities in April surrounding the NFL Combine and will continue working summer camps and home games throughout the upcoming season and, hopefully, postseason playoffs.

“Wilmington is known as one of the best AT programs and, considering the classes I’ve taken and the amount of hours we spend with athletes every day, I feel well prepared to work with the Bengals,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning a lot.”

Howard said WC “got its foot in the door” with the Reds when WC alumnus Nick Kenney had an internship with the ball club in the 1990s. Kenney went on to become assistant trainer with the Reds and Cleveland Indians, and, for the past three seasons, has been the Kansas City Royals’ head trainer.

Kenney, a 1994 graduate, was named baseball’s top head trainer after 2011 season. The Reds’ medical staff was selected as the 2012 season’s best.

Teeters will work every home game throughout the Reds’ season, which he hopes will last well into October.

“I’ve played baseball and have been a Reds fan my whole life,” Teeters said. “My career goal is to join a professional team as a trainer. This opportunity with the Reds will show me what baseball trainers do — it will get my foot in the door.”

Teeters is the 10th WC intern with the Reds since Kenney held that position.
“I think WC has done a good job preparing us,” he said. “Considering the success our program has had placing interns with professional teams, I feel we have a good understanding of what will be expected of us.”

Howard said, “Luke and Trevor possess a good work ethic and represent the College well. They’re also great students.”

WC’s first athletic training student, Russell Miller, Class of 1966, started this tradition of graduates going to professional sports teams. He was head trainer for the Detroit Tigers during his illustrious career in sports medicine.