NEWTON -- If you travel 25 miles down I-95 South from Lasell University, you'll eventually come across Gillette Stadium, most notably the home of the New England Patriots. This stadium is where Jordan Hines, an athletic training major and lacrosse player at Lasell, received the opportunity of a lifetime. The six-time Super Bowl champion franchise offered Hines an athletic training internship during August of 2020. Hines, a junior from Essex Jct., Vermont, knew this was the opportunity of a lifetime, and he eagerly accepted their offer.
Athletic trainers are certified and licensed healthcare professionals, and they have major responsibilities for players who are household names. It's a rewarding field, as you get to help treat athletes who put their bodies through extreme agony to perform. However, one can imagine the stress that an athletic trainer must endure knowing the stakes of their work. A single mistake can unintentionally make an injury worse than it was originally.
The New England Patriots, a franchise known for its tight-ship style, certainly took this into consideration. They had Hines working 16-hour shifts, ensuring they could teach him everything they felt necessary.
"It definitely was tough being on that schedule and trying to be as awake as possible throughout the entire shift," Hines said. "I would get there at 5:30am, and clock out at around 9:30pm. I'd end up getting six hours of sleep on my best night."
Balancing a mentally and physically taxing internship is no walk in the park. Hines welcomed the challenge, however, and remarked that it was a key development point for him.
"The Patriots taught me their fundamentals, which is to hold yourself to a high standard, and always hold yourself accountable. You know what you're going into when working with professional athletes; it's hard work and it really tested my work ethic. It's manageable if you have the passion for what you're doing, and the discipline to keep yourself going."
Hines knew he would have high expectations to meet. His supervisor, Daryl Nelson, is the Associate Athletic Trainer for the New England Patriots. He was quite fond of Jordan's ability to carry himself during the internship.
"Jordan did an excellent job of hitting the ground running during an unprecedented time," said Nelson. "As the only summer intern this year, he inherited a lot of roles and responsibilities right off the bat. Jordan rolled with the punches and consistently gave his best effort day in and day out. His work ethic and professionalism were a great reflection of not only himself but the Lasell University ATEP program."
While we see famous athletes on television all the time, few get to develop any connections with them on a personal basis. Hines not only got to help assist NFL stars with their physical ailments, but he also got to know the players and their authentic personalities.
"Getting to know the players was awesome. Obviously, you can't discuss much about your personal interactions with them given the business, but there's a lot of great players and staff there. It was cool to see how they act in real life and get to know them as people. They'd talk about their own backgrounds, families, friends, and just everyday life."
Fortunately for everyone, the COVID-19 pandemic didn't cancel football. Hines thought highly of the Patriots' efforts in preventing the spread of the virus during his internship.
"While I was interning there, I was tested twice a day, every day," he said. "The coolest aspect of their efforts to keep us safe was the, 'Connectson' which is a program that keeps track of every other user whom you've been within 6 feet of. It's a program designed to make contact tracing more efficient. If someone tests positive, they can isolate more accurately and be able to get as many healthy players on the field as possible."
Despite a global pandemic happening in addition to only entering his junior year, Hines still managed to accomplish an astounding feat; work with the NFL's most successful franchise of this century. He continues on this year as a starting midfielder for the Lasers' lacrosse team, along with trudging through the grind of becoming an athletic trainer. He proved to the Lasell community that despite being a part of a small university during uncertain times, you can still accomplish greatness. Knowing that people in the Patriots' family have a positive association with Hines and Lasell helps pave the way for his future, and the futures of Lasell students striving to have an opportunity like his.