Lander's Joe McDevitt prepares for summer camp: with the Buffalo Bills

April 30, 2009
Joe McDevitt
Lander University athletic training student Joe McDevitt, a junior from Hilton Head, evaluates the knee of a fellow student as part of his clinical practice. The NFL Buffalo Bills have invited McDevitt to participate in their summer training camp as an athletic training student intern.
Lander University student Joe McDevitt has been invited to the summer training camp of the National Football League Buffalo Bills where he will have opportunities to work with star wide receiver Terrell Owens and other members of the team, but not as a player. His assignment will be to help Owens and his teammates stay healthy and in good physical condition.

McDevitt, a Hilton Head native, is a junior majoring in athletic training and exercise studies at Lander, and the Bills will welcome him to their camp as an athletic training student intern. He is scheduled to report to the team's training site at St. John Fisher College near Rochester, N.Y., on July 19 and remain through the team's first five pre-season games, returning to Lander on Sept. 5.

With the assistance of Daniel Hannah, Lander's director of Athletic Training Education, McDevitt sent internship applications to all 32 NFL teams and 15 replied. The invitation to the Bills' camp came after Buffalo's assistant athletic trainer Shone Gipson contacted Kent Atkins, Lander's assistant athletic director for sports medicine and a certified athletic trainer, to find out more about McDevitt and Lander's program. The New Orleans Saints also expressed interest but by that time, he had already accepted Buffalo's offer.

McDevitt will be one of seven, paid student interns in the Bills camp, and he expects to be busy with such details as setting up for on-field practice sessions, taping, bracing and fitting players with protective equipment and assisting the team's athletic trainers with rehabilitating injured players.

"I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to working for an NFL team," he said. "This will give me an idea of what athletic training is like in professional sports." He is also eager to interact with the six other student interns who are coming from colleges and universities around the country.

McDevitt has accumulated over 700 hours of hands-on clinical experience as an athletic training student under the supervision of Lander's athletic training staff.

Each semester, students must complete at least 100 hours of clinical athletic training with Lander sports teams and teams at Greenwood and Emerald high schools. Last Thanksgiving, McDevitt worked with athletic trainers providing first aid and other assistance to players in the Shrine Bowl, a high school all star game in Charlotte, N.C. Students also gain experience working with physicians and facilities that specialize in sports medicine.

Hannah, who is a certified athletic trainer, said the Lander program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Students must graduate from an accredited program to qualify to take the certification exam to earn credentials as a certified athletic trainer.

Of the internship with the Bills, Hannah said, "Joe will do a great job. This is a great way for him to get his foot in the door in the NFL." According to Hannah, it could lead to a yearlong internship after McDevitt graduates and that, in turn, could result in a full-time job. His stint with Buffalo might also pave the way for other Lander students to obtain similar internships.

McDevitt is the son of Cathy and Rick McDevitt of Hilton Head. He has an older sister, Miranda Rector of Florence, and a younger brother, Mark, a senior in high school.

He was a three-sport student-athlete at Hilton Head Christian Academy where he played basketball, football and soccer. At Lander, he chose to concentrate on the off-the-field demands of athletic training education. Now he looks forward to working with Bills players during their pre-season tune up and using the skills he has acquired in the classroom and from his hands-on clinical experience.

McDevitt realizes the training camp will be an important part of his education as he works with professional athletes under the watchful eyes of certified athletic trainers at a whole new level.