Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Whitworth athletic training alum hired as seasonal intern for Seattle Seahawks

Last spring Andrew Bloch, '08, was hired as a season intern for the Seattle Seahawks. Bloch says it has been an intense learning experience that has challenged him to become a better athletic trainer. And he still has to pinch himself at times when he realizes where he's working.

"Running out on the field during timeouts I always find myself taking a quick second to look around the stadium at the thousands of screaming fans looking down on these athletes," Bloch says. "It never fails to leave me feeling like an 8-year-old going to the stadium for the first time."

While at Whitworth, Bloch got his start with football when he was a team trainer during his senior year.

"That senior year gave me great confidence that I just might enjoy being an athletic trainer," he says.

After graduating from Whitworth Bloch earned a master's degree in exercise science from Central Washington University, where he was "thrown into the fire" working with one other colleague assisting more than 300 athletes.

"Fortunately what I had learned as a student athletic trainer at Whitworth, both in the classroom and in the training room, had prepared me very well to take on that challenge," Bloch says.

During the summer between his first and second year of graduate school, Bloch got his foot in the door with the Seahawks through a summer internship program, which he describes as "six weeks of grunt work, doing things such as setting up water caddies, cleaning and stocking Gatorade."

The grunt work paid off and eventually led to Bloch's current position as a season intern, which he anticipates will lead to a full-time position at the Seahawks.

Bloch attributes his career success in part to his Whitworth professors.

"Knowing that your professors in the athletic training program not only care about how you perform, but place your success above all else, became very clear to me," Bloch says. "The lessons I learned in the Whitworth athletic training program laid the foundation for what I strive to become as an athletic trainer and individual."

As an example of the dedication of his professors, Bloch says that during his junior year, he was struggling to keep up with his classmates. Instead of dropping him from the competitive program, Russell Richardson, a health science professor, met with Bloch outside of class to work on specific skills and to go over material taught in class.

"Every time I failed, we talked about it and worked out what went wrong and what must be fixed to ensure success the next time," Bloch says. "Every once in a while when I leave the training room at the end of the day, I remember that I would not be working at the NFL if it was not for Russell Richardson never allowing me to fail, Melinda Larson giving me the opportunity to work with the football team as a senior, Jolene Fisher's kind words and encouragement, Daman Hagerott's incredible teaching skills and Todd Sandberg's never failing guidance."

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contact:

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703, or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.