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Summer Internship is a Dream Opportunity for Equestrian's Alexis Daugird

by Brad Muller

Alexis Daugird knew what she wanted to do at an early age. Now, the rising junior from the South Carolina equestrian team is getting hands-on experience for her future career as a surgeon through the Athletics Department’s Beyond Sports Professional Development and Summer Internship Program as she is matched up with Prisma Health Orthopedics. For Daugird, this is a dream opportunity.

“When I was three years old, I fell on the playground and cracked the back of my head open,” said Daugird, who is studying biological sciences and aspires to be an orthopedic surgeon or reconstructive plastic surgeon. “I was rushed to the emergency room, and there just happened to be a plastic surgeon on call there. She came into my room and sewed the back of my head up, and I walked out of the E.R. saying I was going to be a plastic surgeon. I have never gone back on that.

“Ever since I was very little, I’ve loved science and math. It definitely aligned with what I wanted to do in the future.”

The Wisconsin native came to South Carolina to study while also competing for the Gamecocks, and she is getting real world experience for her future career through the Beyond Sports internship. The Beyond Sports program has placed 17 South Carolina student-athletes this summer with internships related to their chosen profession.

“I was definitely thrown into the deep end, which was great!”
Alexis Daugird  . 

“I’m working in Orthopedics with Dr. Kyle Arthur at Prisma Health, and it has been absolutely awesome,” Daugird said. “In my first two weeks I have probably assisted on 80 to 100 different joint injections using ultrasound technology, which is really cool. I can now successfully read a lot of different x-rays. I can make sense of looking at ultrasounds and see the joint spaces we’re looking to inject in. I can see where the different nerves are that we’re trying not to hit, where a couple of weeks ago it all just looked like clouds to me.

“I was definitely thrown into the deep end, which was great! I’ve had the chance to work with the patients right away. I felt competent in what I’m doing and can talk to patients, so they let me keep going. I’ve already done the full scope of the things I’m allowed to do there as an intern. I’m definitely learning a lot.”

The experience she is getting now not only affirms what she wants to do for a career, but also gives her practical experience.

“Not only will this look great when I apply to medical school, but it’s also going to help me in the future because I won’t have to go through those initial stages of not knowing how read an x-ray or read an ultrasound,” Daugird said. “It will put me ahead of others.

“I’m really lucky with the team that I’ve been a part of. They’re all awesome people, and the camaraderie is really great. It’s shocking to me how far ultrasound technology has come. If you know how to read it, you can really see the different tendons, nerves, and arteries. As Dr. Arthur put it, ‘it’s like looking into the matrix.’ At first, it doesn’t make sense, but when it clicks, it’s like a whole new world!”

Daugird is also excited about returning to campus this fall where she will have a new equestrian coaching staff led by head coach Carol Gwin.

“She is awesome!” Daugird said. “She is coming in with a lot of great ideas. She is a very successful coach herself, having won two national titles in a row (at SMU). I’m really excited to see where this team goes in the next year.”