Dwayne Beam: enhancing sports performanceby Ashley Morris
Dwayne Beam is captain of his own sort of championship sports team here at Coastal Carolina University.
While Beam, the assistant athletic director for sports performance, and his eight athletic trainers may not get any actual playing time, they’re responsible for making sure CCU’s student-athletes do.
“The one thing we all have in common is that we have a love for sports,” says Beam. “I may not be good enough to play at this level, but I fell in love with sports and knew I wanted to be involved somehow after watching the game.”
Beam’s roots in athletic training sprouted as early as high school in his hometown of Shelby, N.C. He earned a bachelor's degree from Appalachian State University in 1994 and a master's degree in education in 1997 from East Carolina University, where he received a hefty amount of hands-on training on the sidelines as a grad assistant with ECU’s football team.
Typical coursework for an athletic trainer includes anatomy, pharmacology, nutrition, rehabilitation and tedious preparation for recognizing injuries. “It’s similar to a physical therapist,” explains Beam, “but we’re the first responder to an injury. We see the injury before a physician sees it, so we need to be able to make a decision as to what’s needed fast. We see what happens from beginning to end.”
Beam adds that the training staff is required to take continuing education classes. “The more we learn about injuries, the more it changes the prevention and care we take,” he says.
Prior to joining the staff at Coastal in 2000, Beam headed the athletic trainer departments at Belmont Abbey College outside of Charlotte and at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.
And over the last decade at CCU, Beam has worked his way up from assistant athletic trainer to head athletic trainer to being named assistant AD for sports performance just last year. He travels with the men’s basketball team as a trainer. “Our mindset for the team is in two areas: training, and strength and conditioning – how everything affects the athlete,” he says. “We really get to know the student athletes on a different, more personal level. Sometimes, during the season, I feel like I see them more than my wife and daughters!”
Luckily, Beam’s casual work environment allows his daughters to sometimes hang out in his campus “office,” and his wife, Stacey Beam, also works in the Williams-Brice Building as the coordinator for the Smith Exercise Science Laboratory.
Beam also teaches a course at CCU on injury management for exercise sports science majors, and he is coordinator for the secondary insurance program for the athletic department.
The department’s insurance policy, he explains, covers intercollegiate athletic injuries and pays after claims have been considered by the individual’s primary medical insurance, something that’s required by student-athletes prior to and during their season. “So, I coordinate the efforts to verify the primary medical insurances and also work as a liaison for each student-athlete with our secondary insurance company when a claim is submitted,” says Beam. “The challenge we face each day is to ensure quality care and coverage of injuries, while at the same time, working to control medical costs.”
Beam takes pride in his training team’s quality care and in the strides that have been made in the field of athletic training overall. “Through education, we’re becoming more aware of injury treatment – especially with head injuries,” he says. “And there are fewer career-ending injuries. It used to be that a bad knee injury could end your career.”
Off the clock, Beam says he stays active by running, “so I can eat what I want,” he laughs.
And, in the spirit of the new year, he encourages others, including those who aren’t student-athletes, to stay active and to embrace the basics of preventative care with good nutrition and good sleep. “Until you have the basics down, it’s hard to advance,” says Beam.