Penn State Hazleton athletes have Athletic Trainer Justin Beaupre looking out for them before and after the sports season. Beaupre takes pride in what he does and does everything in his power to get athletes back into playing condition as soon as possible.
“I am a certified athletic trainer and I am responsible for all the varsity athletes,” said Beaupre. “I take care of their health care needs, their orthopedic needs, their strength and conditioning needs. If they get injured, I decide if they need to see a professional, like an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist or if they can do any type of therapy here at the school.”
At 28 years-old, Beaupre earned his bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training and Exercise Science from University of New England in Maine in 2007 and his masters in Health Care Administration at King’s College. In between degrees, he took the National Certification Exam and passed it, allowing him to get certified.
Beaupre often attends team practices to watch student athletes prepare for upcoming match-ups and although watching a team perform drill after drill may not be exciting, it’s a must that he be there because some of the most common injuries can happen at any instant.
“I see a lot of ankle injuries, rolled ankles, a lot of hamstring strains, quad strains because of lack of flexibility – most kids don’t want to stretch or warm up properly,” said Beaupre.
Most medical dictionaries define a sprain as an “overstretch or tear of the ligament supporting that joint.” Whereas a strain is defined as an “overstretch of the muscle or tendon.”
Either injury can result in a partial or complete tear of the ligament of muscle which could result in the injured limb or join feeling numb or buckling whenever you try to use it and immediate medical attention should be sought after.
Ankles are the most frequent victims of sprains with 85 percent of the 1 million ankle injuries suffered each year in the United States being sprains according to rightdiagnosis.com and when Beaupre sees someone go down with an ankle sprain, there are certain procedures he follows to make sure the injured party gets the right treatment.
“We evaluate the ankle and look at what the severity is,” said Beaupre. “There are different grade levels of ankle injuries and depending on the severity, whether it’s mild, they call it a tweak, or a severe injury where the athlete needs to see somebody, we decide if we do basic therapy or we can tape the ankle so it doesn’t roll.”
There are also protocols in place for other injuries as well.
“If it’s serious, such as broken leg, we do basic emergency management first, then transport them to a hospital and they’d likely end up in a cast for a while. They may end up having surgery and then we’d follow physician’s orders on whatever the progress to get them to play is,” said Beaupre. “If we can do therapy here at school that’s definitely a big benefit ‘cause it reduces health care costs for the athlete. We’re pretty well equipped and each year we buy more and more stuff to allow the kid to be able to stay here.”
With equipment lining the back wall of his office, Beaupre has the tools he needs to help athletes heal up on the Hazleton campus.
“We have two whirlpool tubs that have therapeutic benefits with hot water or cold water, depending on the injury. We have ultrasound and an electric stimulation unit which helps with pain, helps with swelling, helps with re-educating the muscle if they’ve had significant injuries. And then we have a whole host of exercise equipment.”
When the sports seasons are over, Beaupre’s work with athletes is not.
“During postseason, I offer student athletes a conditioning program to make sure they stay in shape for following year or if they’re playing two sports,” said Beaupre. “We design weightlifting and cardio programs and then we talk about the nutrition as a component of that program.”
Beaupre also adds nutritional advice telling students to avoid foods high in fat, high in trans-fats and focus more on fruits, vegetables and your whole-grains.