Getting to know Joe Baer

Name: Joe Baer

Title: supervisor, Parkview Sports Medicine Athletic Training 

Schooling/Training  
  • Wabash high School, 1978
  • Purdue University, bachelor’s degree of science, 1983
  • University of Arizona – master’s degree, 1984 
  • Internship Minnesota Vikings – summers 1978, 1979, 1980 
  • University of Wisconsin – Assistant Athletic Trainer, 1984–86 
  • Sports Medicine Center of Topeka, 1986–1990 
  • Sport ONE – Orthopedics Northeast, 1990 – 2013 
  • Parkview Sports Medicine, 2013 - present 
What made you want to become an athletic trainer?

When I was being recruited out of high school, coaches always wanted to know what I wanted to study. My sister, who is a physical therapist, took an athletic training course and thought I would like that. My father was an athletic director and my mother was a school nurse, so sports medicine kind of made sense. 

How many years have you been treating student athletes?  

I’ve been in the high school setting for 33 years, and an athletic trainer for 41. 

Is there a moment or exchange with a patient that significantly impacted your life? 

Funny you should ask … I never really thought so, but we had a speaker at our staff meeting this week that made me think about this exact thing. When I was at Wisconsin, our head football coach had a massive heart attack. I was first on the scene. I’m sorry to say that we lost him. I was 26 years old, and Big Ten football was going to be my life, but quickly after that, I got an opportunity to move into the private sector in Kansas. I took it. As I looked around our meeting of 70+ athletic trainers this week, I thought, ‘What if I would have stayed at Wisconsin. None of this would be here today.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

Helping people and seeing kids/athletes succeed.  

What makes a great athlete? 

Genetics has a huge impact on this, but not has much as hard work and dedication. It’s fun to see that switch go off in a kid's head. 

What is your greatest passion outside of work? 

Family 

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you? 

I was the captain of the Purdue swim team from 1982-83. 

If you could tell people to read one book in their lifetime, which would it be and why? 

“How to win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I don’t think common courtesy is taught enough these days. 

What would we find at the top of your bucket list? 

Going to the Master’s golf tournament next month with my oldest son is right up there. 

What’s your personal motto? 

‘Life is tough – get a helmet.’  My kids and several of my athletes might say it’s, ‘Suck it up Buttercup!’ 

 

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