"Besides the education and skills you get from going through
both of these programs, you also get great networking
connections," Witczak said. "I found out how broad that
network was; those connections are all over the place in the
Witczak's current professional environment is seven days a week in
the midst of an NFL season, helping top athletes who push their bodies
for a living to heal as well as get ready for the next game.
He has been impressed by the professional football environment.
"The talent level, the skill level, the discipline and the
awareness of their bodies that these individuals have — everything
here is about playing at the highest level by the kind of really
motivated people I want to work with," Witczak said.
His duties involve everything from taping and bracing to helping with
rehabilitation of injuries. During games, Witczak and fellow seasonal
athletic trainers also work as support for the permanent athletic
training staff members, reporting as needed to assist with any issues
that have arisen along with other duties such as ensuring supplies are available.
He said the fast pace and high expectations have reinforced for him a
key tenet of athletic training: quick decision making.
For his day-to-day duties, Witczak is assigned to work with the tight
ends. That position group is interesting from an athletic training
standpoint, he said, because tight ends carry out both offensive line
blocking assignments and receiving duties during a game, meaning
Witczak and his colleagues who are treating these athletes are
cognizant of the distinctive issues that can crop up with each of
those skill sets.
Witczak said the connections he builds with players have been a
rewarding bonus. He has enjoyed getting to know them and laugh with
them. He said the players also make clear their appreciation for the
work and dedication of the athletic training staff.
Looking forward, Witczak said he would like to eventually serve as a
rehabilitation coordinator or director for a high-level football or
baseball team. He is hopeful his dual credentials along with his
developing breadth of experience, which also includes a stint
with Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, will serve him well
as he works to advance in his field.
And as always, he knows another tool for his advancement is the
backing of the strong Grand Valley network in the sports environment.