Athletic training program leads to Olympic, NFL jobs for WSU grad student
OGDEN, Utah — Two months away from earning a master’s degree at Weber State University, Tyler Rupe has already worked with the U.S. Speed Skating Olympic Team and lined up a summer job with the Los Angeles Chargers.
“It was my time in the Navy that helped me figure out that I wanted a career where I could be involved in medicine and sports,” Rupe said.
As a Navy corpsman, Rupe honed his skills in emergency medicine as he served at Camp Pendleton and the Naval Medical Center, both in southern California. During that time, he also played in base football leagues and would often treat injuries on the field, which led a friend to suggest Rupe pursue a career in caring for sports teams.
“I was like, ‘You can make a career out of that?’” Rupe said.
After five years in the military, Rupe chose to attend Weber State because of its top-rated athletic therapy program. He earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic therapy in 2021, and then started the master’s program in athletic training.
“It felt tailor-made for me,” Rupe said. “I’ve always been involved in sports, from the time I was a little kid until my time in the military, so this path just made too much sense.”
Last year, Rupe seized the opportunity to help athletes manage and recover from injuries with the U.S. Speed Skating Olympic Team, headquartered in Salt Lake County.
“The Olympics are the pinnacle of the sports world,” he said. “These athletes don’t take days off and they need to always perform at their best. My classes at Weber State gave me the knowledge I needed to get them back on the ice.”
After he graduates, Rupe will move to Los Angeles to begin a position as athletic trainer for the Chargers, providing medical care during the team’s summer training camp and preseason.
“It’s a demanding job with high expectations, but that’s what I thrive on,” Rupe said. “This is a career where you’re using critical thinking and making quick decisions, and I’m confident going into this. Plus, I’m a long-time Chargers fan.”
Rupe said he’s proud to graduate from Weber State and is not ashamed to have done it on his own timeline, putting classes on hold to serve in the military.
“There’s not just one way to get a degree,” he said. “College is a time to find yourself and take chances. I’m excited for what comes next.”