UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Hometown: Chisholm, Minnesota
Major: Health and Human Performance | Exercise Science
Internship: WNBA - Atlanta Dream
Basketball is Katie Buria’s sport. She played in high school and was considering playing as a Falcon but set her sights on the sideline instead.
“I knew all along that being an athletic trainer was what I wanted to do,” said Katie. “The opportunity I had working with the athletic training staff at UWRF definitely reinforced my interest.”
After graduating with a degree in exercise science from UW-River Falls in December 2017, Katie decide to pursue graduate school at the University of Arkansas. Through a series of fortuitous conversations and connections she landed a chance-of-a-lifetime graduate internship with the WNBA’s professional women’s basketball team, the Atlanta Dream.
“The head athletic trainer/physical therapist for the Dream, Jessica Cohen, was actually a graduate of the University of Arkansas,” Katie said. “The program director was aware of my goals and helped bring us together knowing that she was in the WNBA.”
Katie’s role with the Atlanta Dream was very hands-on. She worked side-by-side with Cohen in all aspects of the athletic trainer role – attending practices, supporting game day set-up, participating in daily rehab and attending doctor’s appointments with the athletes.
Prior to the Atlanta Dream internship Katie had a chance to work with the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team which turned out to be an eye-opening experience.
“We flew chartered planes when we traveled, had unlimited medical resources for the athletes and a great practice facility,” said Katie. “The Dream team flies commercial and sometimes did rehab at the athlete’s apartment complex. The limited resources motivated us to be creative in managing injuries and rehabilitation.”
Katie looks back upon her internships with pride and appreciation. She says she was fortunate to learn from and be mentored by experienced athletic trainers and coaches.
“Both the University of Arkansas and WNBA internships were amazing experiences. I had someone to guide me and support me as much as I needed and to teach me what I needed to know.”
With two great experiences to compare and contrast Katie plans to take some time to consider her next steps.
“The end goal for me would be professional basketball, but I am not exactly sure what that looks like for getting there. I’ll probably try to get another WNBA internship next summer to continue growing my network.” Katie said.
“Physical therapy school is another option. Professional basketball is moving to a medical model and there could be more opportunity if I would seek additional training, dual credentialing is definitely a possibility.”
It doesn’t take but a moment for Katie to gather her thoughts regarding “words of wisdom” for students preparing for either an internship or a job – “use your connections.”
“Volunteer, shadow, get experience. Anything you can do to set yourself apart will make you more marketable.”
Katie plans to graduate with her master’s degree from the University of Arkansas in May 2020.