Jeff Beer doesn’t get much rest. And he doesn’t let Manchester’s athletic training program rest either. “I want to have the best,” says the associate professor of exercise and sports sciences. “I want to do things that other people haven’t even thought of.”
As director of undergraduate athletic training education, Beer sees daily how the $1.5 million PERC expansion is making a huge impact on students. “A higher level of learning is occurring in this building now,” he says about the two new classrooms and the athletic training room where students get real-world clinical experiences as they attend to MU’s student-athletes. Teaching is more effective and interactive, too, with the accompanying classroom technology upgrades, Beer says.
The new facilities are the envy of many other schools. Bright, spacious learning facilities enhance student recruiting for Manchester’s already well-respected athletic training program. As a result, MU is attracting more academically strong students to the program, too, says Beer, in his eighth year at Manchester. When prospective students visit campus and see where they’ll learn, “their eyes light up.”
Athletic training students have a rigorous, demanding schedule. They stretch with courses like physiology, anatomy and pharmacology. They work alongside faculty at every MU athletic practice, game and meet — including road trips. And there are labs, service-learning projects, conferences, internships and clinical placements.
Like others on MU’s athletic training faculty, Beer teaches and advises all day. “My second job starts at 3 o’clock,” he says of the athletic practices when he, his colleagues and students work with student-athletes. Once a week he works until 11:30 p.m., because, without a field house, teams share one gymnasium for practices and games.
Beer is active outside of his demanding schedule. He writes grant proposals for MU community outreach, teaches summer courses, leads a summer camp for prospective students and is developing a spring student symposium. He and his wife, Jennifer, also an athletic trainer, are raising two young children, too.
Beer and his colleagues are raising the bar of Spartan academic standards and their commitment to MU’s program is raising enrollment. With 60 students this fall, athletic training is Manchester’s sixth-largest major. Twelve more students are earning a Master of Athletic Training degree.
“I am willing to give you everything I have,” Beer tells his students, “but if you don’t put in the effort, too, I can help you find another major. I won’t bend academically.” Ultimately, Beer says, “I’m not trying to develop an athletic training student. I’m trying to develop a whole person.”