Matt Mills '11
In fact, that's where you'll find him several Saturdays in the fall, when Stanford University's football team is playing at home.
Mills, who graduated from Quinnipiac in 2011 with a degree in athletic training, is an athletic training fellow for the football powerhouse. He is primarily assigned to work with the university's men's gymnastics and women's rowing teams, but home football games are all-hands-on-deck events.
He started the job soon after earning his MA in exercise and sports science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel in May 2013. Stanford is a familiar place for the Boston native. As an undergraduate, Mills completed an internship as a student athletic trainer for the football team during its pre-season.
Mills says the reputation of Quinnipiac's AT program was a major factor in helping him score the competitive position. "Quinnipiac was how I got my in here," he says. "It opens a lot of doors. I owe them immensely."
After Quinnipiac, he maintained ties with the connections he made at Stanford and was able to line up his full-time job while still in graduate school.
Working under the supervision of a team physician, Mills coordinates the health care for the athletes on his assigned teams, including scheduling medical appointments and evaluating injuries at practice. He sees the student-athletes every day, building close relationships.
The best part of his job? "Seeing the athletes progress from an injury back to doing what they love," Mills says.
The two-year fellowship position also includes 10 hours a week for dedicated research time. Mills is leading a concussion study that examines the force sustained by the head in football players. The players wear special mouth guards--designed by Stanford engineers--which contain a microchip to collect data.
Mills hopes to continue his career at Stanford after the fellowship ends. For now, he's focused on getting athletes back on their feet. Every day is a new challenge--especially with gymnastics, a full-body sport that can result in a wide range of injuries among its athletes.
"You never know what you're going to get," he says.
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