Dr. Ju Hearn: Elite Athlete turned Athletic trainer

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Nobody knows more about an athlete’s body than a former athlete, its strengths and weaknesses, its potentials and limitations. It’s not uncommon to see athletes go into the field of sports medicine.

Dr. Julius Hearn understands an athlete’s mind and body, first hand. Growing up in Chicago, he played basketball in high school and college at Howard University in Washington, DC, where as a freshman he led the Bison in steals and assists.

But injuries plagued Hearn’s career from the beginning. First, it was a torn meniscus in his right knee, which despite surgery effectively ended his time at Howard. After transferring to the University of Texas-Pan American, he led the team there too, before suffering a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder during his senior year.

It was a hand injury in the Republic of Georgia, playing in their professional league, that finally ended his career as an athlete.

Hearn admits that his injuries have taught him to respect his body’s limits. “These injuries stemmed from overloading my body with weights, putting lots of stress on my joints before going out to play a game that can be really hard on them in the first place. I wasn’t eating a proper diet, and so I was getting hurt,” reveals the former player.

It was all of these that led him to shift gears and embrace sports medicine, studying and reading as much as he could, gaining degrees and certifications in everything from massage and physical therapy to nutrition to acupuncture. He now runs not one but two companies dedicated to helping athletes perform at their best and take care of their bodies: 360 Active Recovery and Recharge Athletics.

While 360 Active is dedicated to, in Hearn’s words, “the everyday athlete,” Recharge is geared more toward professional and elite athletes. To date, it has worked with players from the Detroit Pistons, the Miami Heat, Duke University, and leagues from overseas. He also, thanks to his passionate and unique outlook, is in demand as a keynote speaker at college campuses and events across the country.

“Recharge is all about making sure athletes perform at their most optimal level,” says Hearn. “I’ve studied both western and eastern medicine toward that end. You have to look at the whole athlete, the whole human.”

With sports medicine focusing on the idea of the performance that almost regards an athlete as little more than a functioning body, this approach is a novel one. It also, as Hearn’s own experiences with other athletes shows, effective. And if he has anything to say about it, it is going to become increasingly popular.

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