When Super Bowl XLII kicks off Sunday in Glendale, Ariz., another Georgia Southern graduate will be on the sidelines, working with a team on the verge of making history.
Jeffie Trammell, a 2004 Georgia Southern graduate and former athletic training student, has been working for the New England Patriots since June on a year-long internship in its athletic training department.
Much has been written throughout the year on the Patriots’ quest for an undefeated season. Trammell, who has traveled all season long with the team, has essentially been functioning as an assistant athletic trainer on their staff. The experience has been an exciting one.
“It’s been busy; we are packing extra stuff since we are staying out there longer,” he said. “This year’s experience has been exciting and a lot of fun, I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Patriots.
“I don’t know if I fully realize what is going on (right now) with all the wins but I’m sure at some point I will look back and realize how fun it has been. But we have one big game to go. Going to the Super Bowl ... if I wasn’t here (working at New England) I might not have experienced this.”
Trammell is part of a six-member athletic training staff that will travel for the game. His boss did give him a bit of advice.
“He asked me if I had a camera, you’re going to want to take pictures of everything,” said Trammell, who also noted that once it’s time for kickoff, it will be business as usual.
Trammell worked with the Georgia Southern football team under the tutelage of head athletic trainer Brant Berkstresser. After graduating from Georgia Southern he attended graduate school at Clemson where he received his Master’s degree.
“I am really happy for Jeffie, I know this has been a great experience for him and could shape up to be a memorable finish. He’s worked the long hours helping the Patriots get ready to take the field. What a year they’ve had, trying to become the first NFL team ever to go 19-0 in a season,” said Berkstresser, who also holds the title of assistant athletic director. “I’ve said before that Jeffie ranked among the top 5 percent of all athletic training students we have had go through here at Georgia Southern.
“This incredible experience for him will certainly help his career if he decides to pursue a career as an athletic trainer in the NFL.”
Now that he experienced life in the National Football League, Trammell thinks this is where he would like to pursue his career.
“I think I would like staying in the NFL. I have enjoyed my time in the league,” he said. “Being in awe of the players was the first thing I had to get over. I got into the mindset that they have a job to do, and they need me to help do their job.
“We are one department in this company. Our job is to help the players get back on the field. Those guys are just like you and I, and they have a job to do. It’s just that their job is to play football.”
Having worked at the collegiate level and now professionally with New England, Trammell, a native of Dahlonega, noted that there are some similarities but differences too.
“The resources here (at New England) are more plentiful and the professional athletes have one singular focus, that’s playing football. I’ve had a good time working with these guys, they have been really nice to me. First thing they did was come and introduce themselves, asked how long I was going to be with the team,” said Trammell. “You’ve also got more time to work with the players on preventative measures. Obviously I’ve enjoyed my experience a lot more since we have been winning. That’s one of the reasons I liked working with the Georgia Southern football team.
“Winning makes the job easier and more fun, but from what I have seen, even if I was with a team that was losing I would still be enjoying my experience.”
But with all the hype and preparation surrounding the Super Bowl what is the one thing Trammell is most looking forward to?
“The game. I’m excited about working the game,” he said. “This will be something I will remember for the rest of my life.”