(Written by Jenica Paulsen, 4th Year Athletic Training Student)
Jenica Paulsen (JP): Jeremy, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jeremy Mhire (JM): I am from Springfield, MO. I went to Kickapoo High School, and I grew up singing in choir, and doing talent shows. I was never one to shy away from public speaking, or singing in front of crowds. Shortly after high school, I got a phone call from a tour manager who had seen me perform at KHS. I ended up auditioning for Atlantic Records and working as a recording artist. Four or five years into that, I ended my career in the music industry and married my current wife, Jenny. I left my security blanket in the music career and immediately was willing to do whatever it took to provide for my family. I went back to school for Athletic Training because I had always had an interest in athletics. My parents are both Occupational Therapists, so I always grew up with the dinner table conversations about the medical field.
JP: Did you always have a goal of practicing athletic training from a strength and conditioning perspective, and why did you choose to pursue a career within the CrossFit Community?
JM: I knew I was into the whole strength and conditioning thing, however I was sold on being an traditional ATC who worked at a clinic or with a team. Mid-way through the program, I started doing CrossFit. Going into my last year of school, my wife Jenny was diagnosed with Long Q-T Syndrome. My son had already been born, and I had a lot to decide as far as what I wanted to do next. I prayed about it a bunch, and Jenny and I spoke about it a lot. The question in my head was do I take the security of working as a traditional AT (benefits, salary etc.,) or continue with CrossFit. I knew it was going to be extremely difficult to do both. I could keep my shares in the business, and delegate stuff while I work at a traditional setting. Or, I could not go that route and fully pursue CrossFit. I went on a trip with a few of my buddies and we were discussing my options. One of them said to me, “Man, I can’t see you working for anybody else”. At CrossFit, I get to be my own boss. Looking back, it all evolved and I’ve been perfectly prepared for what I am doing today. Now that I have my background in athletic training, it has made me very dangerous as somebody in the human performance realm. Right now, we own CrossFit Springfield, CrossFit Kids, and CrossFit Springfield-East. We have what I think is the biggest network base in the country, we have over 600 members.
JP: There is a lot of misconception about CrossFit and the commonality of injuries. What is your stand on this? Also, what do you do as an ATC to help prevent these injures in your gym?
JM: I am not afraid to talk to people about how the medical community frowns on the CrossFit stuff. I’ve seen the pendulum on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve seen the preventative stuff, the rehab and I’ve also seen the performance stuff. I’ve seen that both extremes stink. You have to find a way to continue to maximize potential, and also in doing that keep people safe and injury free. That is our objective as Athletic Trainers. It was really hard for me at first, because I had that “Do no harm” mentality. What I’ve realized, is that there is that inherent risk. Honestly, I don’t think there is a misconception about injuries and CrossFit. There are a lot of injuries. I honestly think that a lot of it is stupidity on the athlete’s part, and then it is also attributed to mismanagement and lack of oversight by a lot of strength coaches. It definitely is a balance. I tell our members, just because there is a workout program, does not mean that you need to do it, have to do it, should do it, etc., I try to give everybody that freedom. The huge misconception is that the intensity, the loading and the volume are mandated. That is FAR from the truth. Look on our website, and look at the prescribed workout. I can tell you that approximately 3-5% of our 600 member population is doing that workout. One thing we tend to take for granted being in the profession for a while is the gradual progression that people need. One thing to take into consideration is that CrossFit deals with the general public. Generally speaking, our athletes eat poorly, they’re not hydrated. I can tell you at our facilities, there are a lot of overuse injuries. There are not as many acute injuries as one would suspect. In my mind, more times than not, this is due to a lack of regression from the athlete. We give them the option to regress, but ultimately it is up to the member.
JP: How do you feel Missouri State University’s Athletic Training Education Program has helped you prepare for what you are doing today?
JM: Oh my gosh, how didn’t it prepare me? When I got into the program, I didn’t anticipate the workload and managing time between classes, clinicals and having a family. You have to be the type of person to put your head down, and do the work with a big, fat smile on your face. In general, you notice the people that are willing to do the work, and they were the students there at the end. That is the way it is, in life, in business, in family and in every aspect. I like to tell people to simply embrace the journey.
The SMAT Spotlight is a series to highlight individuals, groups, clinical sites, and affiliations involved with the Sports Medicine Athletic Training Department at Missouri State University.