Athletic trainer hired

Erin Whapham has been hired as athletic trainer in the Penn State Hazleton Athletics Department.

As athletic trainer, Whapham plans to educate and keep student-athletes healthy. "I encourage athletes to take care of their bodies, sleep, eat well, and hydrate," she said. "Many athletes don't realize how much nutrition affects their performance. If you fuel your body correctly, you'll be able to perform better."

Athletics Director Ryan Ehrie said, "We are excited to have Erin as part of our staff. She is passionate about her job and is enthusiastic and eager to work with our student-athletes and coaching staff."

Whapham said stretching and flexibility are important areas of wellness and performance in which she feels she can have an impact. "Poor flexibility leads to an increased chance of injury, especially muscle strains. I hope to bring awareness and educate the athletes so they can perform at their best," she said.

She is particularly passionate about working with injured athletes on their rehabilitation programs in order to get them back to competitive status. "I'm a problem-solver, so I like to find solutions to speed up the healing process," she said. Whapham plans to monitor student-athletes' progress as they heal and advance their exercise programs to mimic movements they'll do in practice or in games. "It's important for injured players to remain part of the team, so rehabbing players at practices will allow them to stay current with any plays or drills their teammates are doing, while motivating them to get back in the game," she said.

Whapham is a resident of Pocono Lake and a graduate of East Stroudsburg University, where she earned both her bachelor's and master's degree in athletic training. She worked as a graduate assistant at Warren Hills High School in New Jersey for a year before taking a position with St. Luke's Health Network, where she assisted several high schools and worked a variety of sporting events such as lacrosse, ice hockey and gymnastics.