Career Path for Fort Drum Soldier Starts at Syracuse University

Like many soldiers who are leaving the military, U.S. Army Specialist Luke McKean had an idea of what he wanted to do when he transitioned to civilian life but wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it.

But thanks to a partnership between Syracuse University and the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) in Watertown, McKean has charted his course to become an athletic trainer, strength coach or personal trainer.

McKean recently spent two weeks at the University shadowing Tim Pike, the head athletic trainer for the Syracuse football team. The experience convinced McKean that he wants to pursue the career path he had discussed with representatives from FDRHPO, which is near the Fort Drum Army base where McKean is currently stationed.

“It’s been very informative” McKean says. “It definitely helps me see that I’ll want to pursue this when I’m out of the Army.”

During his two-week job shadow in mid-July, McKean observed Pike and his staff as they worked with football players recovering from injuries. He also shadowed the strength and conditioning coaches as they ran players through various drills. The players weren’t practicing yet because practice did not officially start until early August.

“The nice thing about this is, because of his interest, he’s getting to see the strength and conditioning coaches work the guys conditioning-wise, so he gets observation with that along with what we’re doing (with injuries),” Pike says. “So it’s a win-win, and it’s probably better that he was here in July rather than just coming in to watch football practice.”

Read the full story.