, Port Arthur, Texas

April 30, 2013

Sports injury sends trainer Cheryl Beck on career path to LSC-PA

The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT — A broken arm and a chance encounter sent Cheryl Beck on a career path that eventually landed her at Lamar State College-Port Arthur as the college’s athletics trainer.

Beck, in her second year at Lamar State, might well be considered the Seahawks’ biggest fan. She attends all practices and attends all games with the men’s basketball and women’s softball teams. Tucked away at the end of the basketball bench or inside the confines of the dugout, her hope is that her services won’t be needed.

“Most of what I see are minor injuries like strains or bruises,” she said. “That’s how we like to keep it … nothing major.”

The Southwest Athletics Trainers’ Association and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association recently celebrated National Athletics Trainers Month and Beck was recognized by Lamar State College-Port Arthur as an integral part of the school’s athletic success.

Though the goal is to prepare athletes to stay in tip-top shape, Beck is certainly familiar with serious injury in athletics. While playing basket all as a freshman in high school, she broke her arm. That injury ended her playing career, but, because she still needed a physical education credit to graduate, she looked in a different direction.

“I had a friend who had an ‘off period’ that counted for a P.E. credit,” she said. “So I thought I would do that. What I found out she was really doing was serving as one of the school’s student trainers. I just kind of stumbled into becoming a trainer.”

During high school, Beck worked with the various teams doing basic first aid for athletes with sprains, bruises or other minor maladies. After graduation, Beck headed to Baylor University where she eventually earned a bachelor of science in education. During her time at Baylor, she found out the reality of what it was to be a college athletic trainer.

“Lots of hours,” she said. “We would spend several weeks with each different sport and there was a lot of travel involved.”

After graduation from Baylor, Beck headed to Lamar University where she earned her master’s in kinesiology.

Beck found her way to Lamar State-Port Arthur after answering an employment ad she saw on the NATA website. “It seemed the perfect fit for me,” she said. “It was right here and when I got here I fell in love with the campus and the program.”

Of all the sports programs she worked with, Beck said she especially enjoys working with runners.

“They are a different breed of athlete,” she said. “They seem to be particularly motivated. They push themselves and they work through injuries. They are really tough.”

Cheryl is married to Josh Beck, a Washington State native. He works as a teacher at Ridgewood Elementary in Port Arthur.

“I really enjoy working with Lamar State College-Port Arthur,” she said. “I don’t have any immediate plans to leave. They are talking about expanding the programs here and I’m excited to be a part of that future.”