Kings Q&A: Bighorns Training Staff

From interns in Sacramento to full-time staff members in Reno, Katie Luhring and Ernest DeLosAngeles worked their way into an exciting opportunity with the team's affiliate.
by Kyle Ramos
Writer, Digital

Breaking into a field of work that you love is not often an easy task, but for Katie Luhring and Ernest DeLosAngeles, the duo turned a prime opportunity into a successful start to their young careers.

Both Katie and Ernest started as interns for the Kings in the Sports Medicine department under the tutelage of Director of Sports Medicine Pete Youngman and Head Athletic Trainer Dr. Manny Romero. Since then, the two have earned new positions with the team’s G-League Affiliate in Reno as a part of their training staff.

We caught up with Katie and Ernest to find out more about their journey.

What is your day-to-day like in your position with the Reno Bighorns?

Katie: “In a nutshell, [my role] is covering practice and being the medical coordinator for the team. So if a guy gets hurt, I am the initial source of diagnosis and treatment and if needed, I take care of referrals out to our local doctor as well as scheduling any imaging or anything else that needs to get done for them. I also am in charge of equipment here, so it’s my job to make sure the guys are properly dressed and ready to go for practice and games.”

Ernest: “I lead the team through warmups every day before practice and we may have a warmup where we do a lift before or we may do a movement session. I also assist the coaches with whatever they need during practice, so sometimes that calls for me to assist with some rebounding or passing. Post practice, I’m in charge of the team’s nutrition so making sure that they have what they need - whether that be protein or any other supplement. I’m also in charge of ordering the pregame meals and the postgame meals whether we’re home or away. And then also assisting Katie with whatever she needs, like rehab, stretching some of the guys, or any equipment she needs - basically just being another source of help for her.

What was your experience like with the Kings?

Katie: “I was lucky enough that the Kings reinstituted their intern program in the year that I was taking off between undergraduate and graduate school. I had the great opportunity to work with Manny and Pete for an entire season and it was really just a good time for me to be able to work in professional basketball before I went and got my athletic training degree to solidify that this is what I wanted to do. Manny and Pete were amazing, they’re both so talented and I learned a lot. They did a lot of cool stuff that was really cutting edge for preventative rehab and tracking the athletes on a daily basis. It really set me up and it’s not just about being here [with the Bighorns], but it was about networking from this as well. So it set me up for becoming the athletic trainer that I am today. It was an incredible experience and I’m really grateful for it.”

Ernest: “I actually had finished my athletic training degree before I got my internship and I thought it was a perfect way for me to segue. Not only was the athletic training staff, but the strength and conditioning staff was really dedicated to their profession. They did a lot of continuing education, a lot of discussions - it wasn’t like we were just working while we were at the arena. It was work while we were away as well. Whether it was reading articles and sending each other emails or text messages about certain things that we thought of that we’d seen in research. I feel like that really has driven how I work with athletes now and how I serve these athletes. Like Katie said, the sports medicine and sports performance staff in Sacramento, they’re always looking for the next thing they can do to help the athletes and I think that’s shown in a lot of the results that they’ve gotten as far as low injuries with players. My time as an intern was really beneficial and it helped me grow exponentially compared to if I had just went out into the field working on my own or if I went to get my Master’s degree - which I went and did eventually because of Manny.”

What was your biggest takeaway from interning with the Kings?

Ernest: “The biggest thing I took from my internship was that in some internships, and I’ve done some other ones as well, you kind of do the grunt work. With the Kings it was never like that. I felt like even as an intern, I was treated as an equal. I took part in a lot of the conversations that they had regarding proactive approaches, research, and things that they were looking into as far as sports science equipment. That’s something that really stood out to me and I told myself that whenever I got an intern, I would do the same thing.”

Katie: “I would definitely second that. I was also treated as an equal and had every opportunity to help out on a daily basis and be part of everything. There’s also always that difficulty being a woman working in a male professional sport and I never had a problem [during the internship]. The team really warmed up to me really quickly and it was nice to be an important part of their day-to-day lives. The thing about athletic training and what’s really drawn me to this profession is the connections that you make with people. It was nice to be so welcomed so quickly by the entire organization.

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