Trainer Justin Webb wants to ‘make a difference’

Justin Webb in the ARHS gym

Justin Webb is ARHS’s Athletic Trainer. Webb deals with hundreds of teen athletes per sports season keeping us all safe and healthy. His motto is “the noblest art is that of making others happy.” Not only does he keep athletes happy with advice, jokes, and casual conversation, but he keeps us happy because we are healthy and the best athletes we can possibly be. As a three sport athlete, Webb has been very present in my life. I got the honor to speak to him about his career as our trainer.

Ian Waite: What is your job name and description, and a brief history of your career path?

Justin Webb: I am the school’s athletic trainer. I work with all of the athletes at the school. The nurses cover the day to day health and care for the students, and I cover the day to day health and care for the sports and athletics teams. I’ve worked in high schools for a majority of my career. There was a brief instance where I worked at UCLA for their programs there. But they only needed temporary help for a couple of months. So I have mainly been with high schools. I am originally from the San Diego area. So I’ve been there about two years and then I’ve been here for about two years as well. So I have about four and a half years of experience.

IW: Do you have any future goals & aspirations involved with your career path? Any dream job?

JW: To be honest with you, I’m head over heels for this job. I’m really enjoying what I’m doing with high school and high school athletics. Dream job? Man, you are putting me on blast. To be honest, not really, I’m happy where I am at right now. It might change in the future, I might get into a little bit of teaching as well. But as of right now, I’m really enjoying what I’m doing.

IW: If you could give one tip to keeping athletes healthy, what would you tell them?

JW: Stretch! For the love of god, stretch! The amount of times I’ve said those exact words. I would ask kids after an injury, what have you done for it? And they would end up telling me they have done nothing. Even honestly, in a day you don’t play sports, just stretching helps keep your body loose, healthy, limber, and able to do the movements you’re supposed to be doing from a day to day existence. But especially athletes, especially because you’re going above and beyond what humans are supposed to be capable of and you’re pushing your body. Keeping that limber, keeping it fresh is the best place to be.

IW: What do you feel are the most important qualities to have to excel as an athletic trainer? 

JW: A certain sense of calm. When things get hectic and emergencies happen, you are the one in control. You’re the one telling people what to do. You’re the one who tells people if it is time to call 911, if that’s required. You’re the one dictating the situation. And if you’re freaking out, everyone else is freaking out. So if you’re imbued with a level of calmness and stillness, a situation that could have gone hectic, can a lot of times lead to a more calm solution. You also kind of have to be a people person. You have to be able to talk to people on a regular basis. My job is pulling information out of athletes, whether they don’t understand what their body wants them to do, or why they’re having pain. Being able to communicate with kiddos or adults and effective communication is a big part of my job.

IW: What do you like best about working here? 

JW: To be honest with you, it has to be the kiddos. They’re doing a great job at keeping me engaged. They’re definitely a big part of the job. And I feel like I at least am hopefully making a little bit of an impact on them and teaching them a little bit of something. But yeah, I wouldn’t be able to do this job if it wasn’t so great of an environment that you guys have set up here. The front office has also been great with communication and going back and forth. So I really have no complaints.

IW: What motivates you?

JW: The main thing in my life is I’ve always wanted to make a difference. Help people, just like my athletic trainer helped me. When I was growing up, I tore my UCL when I was playing baseball a long time ago. And that rehab process, that healing process, everything that me and my athletic trainer at the time shared, that’s what I wanted to imbue. I want to be that level of calm that he was for me. I wanted to do that for the next generation. Even if it’s only one kid I help get back to sports, that’s a goal.

IW: What is the most challenging part of your job? What is the most gratifying part?

JW: The most challenging part is definitely that it can go from zero to 100 in a matter of seconds. It can be one play. I mean, I can name 1000 plays where three people ended up on the floor at last night’s game and someone in one of those instances might not get back up. And it is my job to be there for that person, whether it be the away team or our team. One of the most gratifying things is getting the kid back safely back to a place where they are going to be okay. Taking a kid from, ‘Oh my god I broke my leg,’ to ‘I’m playing sports again’ is very gratifying and fulfilling.