2017 Summer Intern KSI Fellowship Experience

Miwako Suzuki, KSI Intern Fellow

My name is Miwako Suzuki, and I am an Athletic Training student at Indiana State University. Gratefully, I was chosen to receive the opportunity to intern at the Korey Stringer Institute in the Summer Fellowship Program. I am originally from Japan, and I studied Athletic Training there as well. While receiving my education in Japan, I found it necessary to learn more about prevention and management of emergency conditions, and this sense of mission brought me to the United States. I became aware of the KSI four years ago when I was still in Japan through Dr. Yuri Hosokawa, Vice President of Education and Communication at the KSI, and I have been attracted to the KSI since then. The past two months and ten days that I spent with the KSI members were full of great experiences and learning.

Among the several projects that I worked on during the summer, the main focus was placed on the Athletic Training Locations and Services (ATLAS) Project. The aim of the ATLAS Project is to determine the extent of current athletic training services provided in the secondary school setting, and it was launched in January 2016 with these goals:

  • Create a real-time database of athletic training services in secondary schools
  • Create a directory for each state’s athletic training association and high school athletics association
  • Assist states in moving toward full-time athletic training services
  • Provide useful data to each state’s athletic training association and high school athletic association
  • Identify common factors associated with increased athletic training services across the country
  • Provide data to assist with legislative efforts to improve healthcare for high school athletes


At the beginning of the summer, the ATLAS Project was at the stage of figuring out the extent of athletic training services in the last 10% of high schools that we had been unable to reach. To reach those schools, I have tried multiple methods such as making phone calls, writing emails to athletic directors, and searching their website for athletic trainer’s information. Even though I made some progress with these strategies, the most effective method was reaching out to athletic trainers of the neighboring high schools of the unknown schools for help. From this experience, I have learned firsthand that ATLAS is not only a great database but also a very useful communication tool. While interacting with high school athletic trainers throughout the nation, many of them showed their appreciation and support for this study. I am very grateful to be one of the members to propel this important project forward. I would like to thank Dr. Robert Huggins for including me in this project and always guiding me. I also would like to thank Sarah Attanasio, ATC, for teaching me and providing help whenever I asked.

Testing for the Falmouth Road Race study began in mid July. We conducted a modified heat tolerance test on recreational runners of a wide range of ages who are participating in the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on August 20th, 2017. Although the study will not be completed until the race day, collecting data on individuals’ physiological responses to exercise in the heat was a great learning opportunity for me. I believe that the wide distribution of demographics of this study allowed me to encounter various responses among the subjects. With regard to conducting a laboratory test, I observed the effort of the KSI members to make the study robust. I was very fortunate to learn from such experienced and passionate colleagues. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Yuri Hosokawa and Kelsey Rynkiewicz, ATC, for their effort to involve me in this study.


On August 20th, which will be my last day as a KSI fellow, I will be at the New BalanceFalmouth Road Race and will serve as a medical volunteer with the KSI staff. The Falmouth Road Race has been recognized for its high incidence rate of exertional heat illnesses because of the environmental conditions and its short duration (7.1 miles), which allows runners to maintain relatively high intensity throughout the entire duration of the course. According to a previous study from the KSI, this race has saved multiple exertional heat stroke patients each year. Since I have never encountered a real exertional heat stroke case, I would like to take this opportunity as a great hands-on learning experience.


I appreciate every aspect of the activities that I had the opportunity to take part in at the KSI. The KSI was an even greater place than I expected. All the members are making a great effort for their projects with the strong passion and commitment for the KSI’s mission. I believe that this is the reason why the KSI has been successfully leading our profession. Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Douglas Casa for providing such a great opportunity. I fully enjoyed summer 2017 with such great colleagues.

KSI Fellowship


By Savannah Knighton, Korey Stringer Institute Fellow

My name is Savannah Knighton and I am an undergraduate athletic training student at Louisiana State University. I became aware of the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) in 2014 after my brother suffered a heat stroke. KSI played an integral role in his return to the football field. I have always admired the work that they have done, and this summer I was fortunate enough to become part of the team when I was offered the 2016 summer fellowship.


My main focus this summer was the Athletic Training Locations and Services (ATLAS) project. The goal of ATLAS is to create a real-time database of the athletic training services in secondary schools across the country. Being an athletic training student and a strong advocate for the importance of the presence of athletic trainers at all levels, this was a very appropriate task. I spent much of my time uploading the information from new surveys to our database. I also created numerous contact lists of athletic trainers from different states to help promote ATLAS.  This was my first real experience working with excel, but I was able to learn numerous tips and tricks.


I was also asked to write letters to authors that inadequately described exertional heat stroke. I have become very knowledgeable about heat illnesses, especially exertional heat stroke; so I was glad to be able share this knowledge. I was even able to learn a little bit more about the specifics and misconceptions of heat illnesses while writing these letters.  My creative side was put to the test by designing some social media graphics to help promote KSI and its initiatives.

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During my last few weeks here, I was able to help out with some of the research studies. I spent many hours in the heat chamber, helping out with  max testing, and collecting data before and after testing. This was my first experience with research, but it has definitely made me consider about going into research in the future.


I cannot thank the KSI team enough for all the mentoring they have done. The amount of knowledge I have acquired from them this summer is unfathomable. I am excited to bring everything I have learned back to Louisiana and carry it with me throughout my career. I can only hope that future fellows learn just as much as I have. KSI does some amazing work, and being apart of the team even for a summer is an experience I would recommend to any athletic training student.

KSI Fellowship


This summer, Korey Stringer Institute welcomed the first fellow, Kyle MacKinnon, BS, ATC. (Photo from left: Dr. Stearns, Sarah Attanasio, Rachel VanScoy, Luke Belval, William Adams, Dr. Huggins, Lesley Vandermark, Andrea Fortunati, Kyle MacKinnon)


By Kyle MacKinnon

Going to college at Ithaca College, I was fortunate enough to gain the mentorship of Kent Scriber. Kent was known for his stories from his early career. In 1985 he provided potentially life-saving treatment to a young track athlete suffering from exertional heat stroke. This athlete was Douglas Casa, the Chief Operating Officer of the Korey Stringer Institute. One day over our winter break, my program director emailed me with an opportunity-a summer position had been posted at KSI. After a period of emails, phone calls, and interviews I was fortunate enough to be selected as the inaugural KSI research fellow.

After graduating college in the spring, I had about two weeks of nothing. Quickly, this passed and I was off to Storrs, Connecticut. I started at KSI on June 1st. Although I am only here for 8 short weeks, I have been immersed in several on-going projects. From high school policy updates to a prolonged study on performance variables and soccer players, I have gained invaluable insight into the world of research and sports safety. Most recently I have been creating an informational video on heat acclimatization. Many of KSI’s research publications have been compiled into policies to optimize safety. The video project is designed to be an accessible resource for all those who may encounter heat stress.

My time here has given me a better awareness of what goes on in world of research. It is filled with tough work and even tougher people doing the work. The process behind a publication was almost a mystery to me before I came to KSI. After observing and having conversations with my colleagues I have a firmer understanding of the process. One thing that I have learned that is a constant is that something can always be better, whether that means getting new eyes on a paper or stepping back and trying a new perspective.

There is a constant need for more research. In an era of information, KSI is committed to producing only the best quality evidence and research. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to be at the front lines of research. The lessons taught to me here will follow me throughout my career and life.