Grad student gets his kicks with the Rockettes in NYC practicum


This holiday season, George Mason University graduate student Kyle Delin is working at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. A student in the MS in Athletic Training Program in Mason's School of Kinesiology, Delin is doing his practicum as an athletic training student associate with Radio City Rockettes’ Athletic Training department under Madison Square Garden (MSG) Entertainment and is helping with the Rockettes’ Radio City Christmas Spectacular show.

Kyle Delin on stage at Radio City
Mason graduate student Kyle Delin on stage at Radio City Music Hall. Photo provided

Tell us a little about your practicum experience.

Since I’ve been here, I have been working with other athletic trainers, physical therapists, and doctors and have learned a lot from each of them. I’ve also been able to provide evaluation and treatments and prevention techniques for injuries to the performers that they may have sustained during rehearsals. While the show stars the Rockettes, they are not the only performers that I have been able to work with. There are more than 100 cast members between the Rockettes, ensemble, singers, etc. involved in the show, which has been open opened to the public since Nov. 17. From this point on, I will be working with the other athletic trainers to cover the shows until close of show in January.

What does a typical day look like in your practicum experience?

My typical day consists of reporting to Radio City Music Hall to complete pre-rehearsal/show treatments, covering run-throughs of the show/performances, complete post-rehearsal/show treatments. However, these next few weeks will be a bit different because of a handful of appearances that the Rockettes will be having, from the Today Show to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to either attend the appearance or attend the rehearsal preparations for the appearance on site.

How did you find out about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity through one of my professors, Jatin Ambegaonkar. He had received an email from an MSG employee regarding the position and had our program director share it with everyone in the program. I originally did not believe I would get the position when I had applied, but decided to take the chance. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview for the position with the creator of the department and my current mentors/preceptors. The whole process for getting the position, from application to interviews to receiving my offer, took about four months, and I couldn’t feel any luckier.”

How has this experience shaped your interests/career plans?

This experience has opened my eyes to the numerous possibilities for my career. I’ve enjoyed working with everyone and could see myself working in this type of setting. However, I also can see myself working in other settings as well, based on my experiences at my other practicum sites. At this point, it’s difficult to say where I would like my career to take me, but either way I know that I will be happy.

What has been your favorite memory of the practicum so far?

So far, my favorite memory is seeing each of the parts of the show come together. I’ve been able to watch each of the numbers from initial rehearsal to final product come together with choreography, props, stage elements, costumes, etc. and it’s been amazing to see.

What advice can you share to students going into a new practicum experience?

For all students going into a new practicum experience, take the opportunity to learn as much as you can. New techniques, new methods, everything and anything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone does and it will be all right. Make sure to talk with your mentor/preceptor, and listen to their feedback. No one is ever perfect, especially not during practicum experiences. This is the time to make mistakes and to learn. It can be nerve-racking and there will be times that you will be completely lost, but it will be okay. And you will get through it. Believe in yourself, rely on what you’ve learned from your professors, but also be open to criticism and open to learning other methods/techniques that your mentors/preceptors may have to offer. Doing this will only make you a better professional.