Catching up with JP

John Post’s athletic training room is the cog on which the Eastern Athletic Program spins. This year alone, Post (commonly known to students and faculty as “JP”) and his staff have provided care for 162 Eastern athletes (as well as nine non-athletes). Eastern has 291 student-athletes in total. That means that 56% of all Eastern athletes have spent at least some time in the training room this year. JP estimates that approximately 40 students visit the training room every day. The training room also provides care for visiting athletes. Overall, JP and his staff have performed 6,367 treatments for 237 injuries this year. It’s safe to say that without the work of JP and his team, Eastern’s athletic program would be in dire straits.

But JP was not always the one in the training room. Growing up, he spent a good deal of time on the athletic fields himself. “I played everything as a kid,” Post said. After spending some time in Pop Warner Youth Football leagues, JP decided that soccer was his sport of choice-a sport which he enjoys playing to this day. From a young age he knew that he wanted sports to be a part of his future: “I had a dream to be a head football coach,” Post said of his younger years. As he entered college at Messiah, JP realized that alongside his love of sports, he also had a keen interest in medicine. Originally a Physical Education major, he became interested in athletic training after accompanying his injured roommate on a visit to the athletic trainer one day. “It was the perfect marriage of medicine and athletics,” Post said. JP came to Eastern in 1990 on a part-time basis, was appointed head trainer in 1998, and has been here ever since.

While being one of the busiest persons on Eastern’s campus-he is also Eastern’s compliance coordinator and a teacher of two 3-credit courses -JP manages to stay in very good humor. He has an easy sense of rapport with the athletes who frequent his training room, and his positive demeanor helps keep the athletic training room a very upbeat place, despite the frustration and disappointment usually associated with athletic injuries. JP’s easy-going nature is put on display every spring at Eastern’s Athletic Banquet. The annual “Post Game Show” is equal parts Year-In-Review and comedy routine. The highlight of the report is the presentation of the prestigious Golden Crutch Award. This award goes to the graduating senior with the highest number of injuries throughout his or her career. The number of injuries necessary to win this award is usually around 14.

Beyond the Golden Crutch, JP and his staff keep a close record of all the injury statistics for each team every year. As it turns out, the Men’s Lacrosse team, while being frontrunners in the MAC conference this spring, is also the frontrunners among all Eastern squads in total injuries sustained, with 37 injuries and 729 treatments this season. At this point, the Lacrosse team is tied for the injury lead with the Men’s Soccer team, which also sustained 37 injuries and underwent 859 treatments last fall. On the opposite side of this spectrum are the Tennis and Cross-Country programs, which have had only 10 injuries and 138 treatments in total between their four teams.

With the year coming to a close, I asked JP what his summer plans are. “I’ll be working,” he responded. The head athletic training position is a year-round practice. Between taking inventory, fulfilling compliance requirements and preparing for classes, JP will have much to keep him busy this summer. He will, however, also have some time to vacation with his family in Rochester, Boston and Ocean City. Come August, the athletic training room will be back in full swing, ready to meet the needs of any and all students who darken its door. And with the help of JP and his staff, Eastern’s athletic programs will keep right on spinning.

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