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MSU Profiles

The sky's not the limit

Getting a chance to work for a professional basketball team was definitely worth the wait for Jenna Wing.

Wing, a senior at Minot State University studying athletic training, earned an internship with the Chicago Sky of the Women's National Basketball Association this past summer. The process - which started out with a family friend that works for the Sky - included her resume ending up on multiple desks including the Sky's owner before ending up with the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute (IBJI).

She was ultimately selected for the internship in May by the IBJI, one of the largest independent physician-owned orthopedic practices in the United States.

"I wasn't necessarily seeking anything out. My mom knew a person who works security for the games and I ended up sending my resume," Wing said. "It ended up going to the head strength and conditioning coach, the head athletic trainer, the owner, and then eventually to the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute who has the contract with the Sky, so it was quite the process. I guess if nothing else, it was good networking."

But it would end up being so much more.

Wing, from Fox River Grove, Ill., was able to get hands-on experience in all facets of athletic training and gained a level of confidence she lacked heading into last summer.

"It was very hands on - taping, and doing rehab. I worked with one of the girls who was doing rehab on an ACL injury," she said. "It was unpaid - all experience - and we were busy right away. There were two other interns hired with me and one left a couple weeks after we got there, so it ended up being just two of us.

"I got a lot of self-confidence from doing this internship. I'm excited to share what I've learned and this experience with working with professional athletes during my senior year here at Minot State."

Along with rehabilitation, Wing earned valuable experience with game-day events. She was a part of set ups, tear downs, and was assigned the various visiting teams.

"I really gained a lot of knowledge with rehab, it was very intense - these are professional athletes and you are trying to get them back as fast as possible," Wing said. "I could take what I've learned at Minot State and put it to use. Game days were surreal. I grew up going to the arena, concerts and hockey games, and now I'm back stage. I had to pinch myself a couple times."

She credits her parents and individuals within the MSU athletic training program with motivating her to pursue the internship.

"I never thought that I would get this experience, and while I was going through the process my parents kept saying, ‘The worst thing that can happen is that they say no and you move on and improve,'" Wing said. "I wouldn't have gotten this opportunity if it wasn't for Dr. Heather Golly, Dr. Terry Eckmann, and Ashley Guy. They helped me jump through the hoops that I needed to. I completely feel that the athletic training program here prepared me for the internship and I feel that I would not have gotten the same one-on-one experience if I had gone to a different school."

While Wing was already interested in a career in athletic training, her time with the Sky has cemented her commitment.

"I came into this with the stereotype that professional athletes were going to be divas," she said. "But I had an amazing team. They were all extremely nice, generous people. I graduate in May and I've sent my resume to the (Chicago) Bears and have applied for grad school, but I would love to go back to the Sky."