Anthony Moon has earned a varsity letter as a member of the Albion College baseball team and he is used to the relatively slower pace of the game as compared to many other sports.
The senior from Paw Paw, however, adjusted nicely this summer when he made the leap to the frantic pace common to the National Football League as one of the athletic training interns for the Cleveland Browns during training camp. The adjustment was even more impressive considering it was Moon's first physically demanding activity since coming off hip surgery, which forced him to miss the 2012 Briton baseball season.
"Baseball is more laid back, where you're always on the go—constantly running—with football," Moon said. "There is not much you can do to get ready for that except to get thrown into the mix and see how you hold up to it.
"I was stressed out going into it because I wasn't sure how my hip would hold up," he added. "I would be on my feet for 12- and 14-hour days. It held up great and the nerves quickly went away once I found my leg would hold up to the demands of the job."
Moon is the third student in as many years to represent Albion as an intern for the Browns’ organization, following Mark Feger in 2010 and Tyler Floyd in 2011. He said Albion's athletic training staff prepared him well for the experience, noting Sara Koski, Albion’s head athletic trainer, talks to the student athletic trainers after teaching moments and clearly explains what she did and why she did it.
Moon appreciated the chance to test himself in a professional sports environment. He was initially hoping to land an internship at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, but the opportunity from the Browns arrived just days before the offer from Disney.
Among the skills he gained were confidence and the ability to clearly process the information needed to be a successful athletic trainer despite the stress caused by the fast pace.
"I wanted to see what can be done in the field of athletic training through an unlimited budget and the ability to work with premier athletes," Moon said. "It was by far one of the best experiences I've ever had because some of the guys made a point to thank us for working hard every day. I was awkward and shy on the first day [of the internship] because I wasn't sure how to interact with the players. They are professional athletes who are idolized in our culture. As time went on, I learned they are normal people. It was nice to see that they are human."
"I learned how to prioritize my day," he added. "There are so many things going on that you have to decide what needs to be done right away, and things fall into place after that."
Moon says he wants to take the experience he gained in Cleveland to be a mentor for the younger students in Albion's athletic training education program and help them find the right balance between their athletic training commitments and their other academic work.
"I hope to tell the students to take a breath," Moon said. "Sometimes you get backed up on work—everything gets piled on at once. It is necessary to take a step back because you’ll get overwhelmed if you don't. Make a list, go through a step-by-step process, and don't try to do everything at once."
He also hopes to be back as a catcher for the baseball team in the spring.