Baseball has always been a big part of Brad Groleau’s life, from the baseball diamonds around north central Illinois with the St. Bede Bruins and most recently, playing for McKendree University.
With his playing career behind him, the former two-time co-BCR Player of the Year (2012, 2013) was able to bring his passion for the game to his new profession, athletic training. He just recently wrapped up a summer internship with the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Class AAA farm club for the Kansas City Royals.
He truly had the best of both worlds.
“It was an amazing experience working with professional athletes and the team athletic trainer Dave Iannicca,” Groleau said. “I have a strong passion for athletic training and the game of baseball. The best part of it for me is that I am doing what I love. Being around the athletes and helping them in any way possible is very rewarding.”
Groleau, 22, said he talked about baseball quite a bit with the Storm chasers who are still chasing the dream he had.
“It was interesting to hear their stories of what got them to where they are now and all of the experiences they have had within the game,” he said.
And he had some of his own personal experiences, overcoming not one but two ACL injuries during his career. His first ACL was August 2010 during his sophomore year of football playing at Kewanee. The second time was June 2013 playing summer baseball in Lombard, which led to a medical redshirt at McKendree during his freshman year there.
"My past experience with personal injuries has helped me become an overall better clinician as I have been able to share my past experiences with athletes," Groleau said.
Groleau applied through the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and their summer internship program. He said he was fortunate enough to get an interview with the Storm Chasers and offered the job, which he accepted in mid-February.
While he did not travel with the team, he was present for all of the home games. For a typical 7:05 p.m. home game, Groleau would show up at the park around 1 p.m. and the players would follow shortly later. Some players will do their strength workout, he said, which takes about an hour, while other guys come in and start getting any type of treatments they need.
The pitchers took the field at 3:30 p.m. to stretch and throw. At 4 p.m., the position players will do their stretching as part of a dynamic warmup. Batting practice is at 4:30 p.m. Groleau would go out with the head strength coach and the team’s certified athletic trainer and to help with stretching, watch batting practice, and assist the players as needed. Dinner was served at 5:30 p.m., and he would help with final stretching and any final treatments at 6 p.m. Players would head out at 6:30 p.m. and get ready for a 7 p.m. game.
After the game, they’d head back to the athletic training room to do any type of treatments and paper work.
“It’s usually about a 1 to 11 p.m. gig,” Groleau said.
With his internship behind him, the new McKendree University grad is working as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at the University of Nebraska-Omaha where he is in graduate school for his masters in exercise science.
He said he could see himself working in professional baseball for the rest of his career, but is open to other opportunties.
• Happ up for Miller Award: Speaking of former St. Bede greats, J.A. Happ of the Toronto Blue Jays, a 2001 SBA alum, is up for the MLB’s Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, which is presented to the player whose on-field performance and contributions to his community most inspire others to higher levels of achievement. Players on each team have selected one teammate as their Club’s nominee. Visit http://www.mlbplayers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=34000&ATCLID=211666758 to vote for J.A.
The late Marvin Miller served as the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) from 1966 to 1982, and regarded as one of the most important people in the history of the game.
• Lions roar: I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for some more Logan Lions softball. They will meet host Germantown Hills at 11 a.m. Saturday for the sectional championship and the right to go to state. If you want to see some good softball and support your local girls, make the trip down (outside of Peoria). You’ll be glad you did and the girls would love to have you there.
Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at email@example.com.