OSU athletic training alum is ‘part of the team’ at Tulsa Oilers Football
Friday, June 23, 2023
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A year after graduating with a master’s degree in athletic training from OSU Center for Health Sciences, Michael Daniels is already working as the head athletic trainer for the new Tulsa Oilers Football team.
“They just threw me in the deep end,” Daniels joked. “When I got the position, I wanted to show that I was confident in my knowledge and skills. Before that first road game, my heart was racing and I kept saying to myself, ‘Please don’t get hurt, please don’t get hurt.’ Once I had that first game under my belt, I knew I had it and could do it.”
Daniels, who is from Dallas, started his athletic training career in high school and college before coming to OSU-CHS’ athletic training program. After graduating in May 2022, he completed an internship with the Dallas Cowboys and then worked as an athletic trainer with Southern Methodist University’s football and tennis teams.
When he was an athletic training student, Daniels worked with some of OSU Medicine’s sports medicine physicians and Tulsa Oilers Hockey Director of Health and Performance Steve Lintern, who is also a clinical athletic trainer with the OSU Sports Medicine Department.
So, when the athletic trainer position opened for the Indoor Football League’s new Tulsa franchise, Lintern said he knew Daniels would be a good fit.
“He’s one of the best students I’ve ever had,” said Lintern, who also assists Daniels on game days getting players ready. “He knows a lot already, but he’s also not afraid to ask questions.”
"They’re more than just athletic trainers. They’re here with us, day-in and day-out.
They’re a part of the team.”
"They’re more than just athletic trainers. They’re here with us, day-in and day-out. They’re a part of the team.”
Daniels said he’s lucky to have such great support not only from Lintern, but from OSU Medicine sports medicine physicians, OSU Medicine osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) physicians, and the Tulsa Oilers coaching staff.
“It’s exciting being the head athletic trainer at a new team. Our coaching staff, this history they have with indoor football has really helped me. The game is a lot more fast paced and it’s a smaller field than traditional football,” he said. “Dealing with a lot of shoulder injuries, lots of knees. As a football athletic trainer, you have to anticipate the worst.”
Spinal injuries and concussions are part of that training as well, but Daniels said a lot of his job is to prevent injuries, so he’s had the team take yoga classes together to increase flexibility and core strength, and he has OSU Medicine physicians perform OMM treatments in the training room as well.
“We have the best medical staff in the IFL. I get a lot of compliments from visiting athletic trainers who say this is the best place in terms of medical support and staff,” he said.
Lex Rosario is a wide receiver for the Tulsa Oilers who said he’s gotten great care from Daniels and the rest of the medical team.
“Having Mike here is super beneficial. He’s always there if you have a question, he always takes care of me, and he’s super knowledgeable,” Rosario said. “He and Steve, they’re more than just athletic trainers. They’re here with us, day-in and day-out. They’re a part of the team.”
Daniels said overseeing the care of an entire football team can be daunting, but he loves the challenge.
“I take care of 25 guys. I’m building a trust and relationship with these guys,” he said. “I love problem solving. I have so many responsibilities, it’s never boring and it keeps me on my toes.”