Jeff Billeck joined the University of Winnipeg (U of W) in 2008 as an athletic therapist. He is currently the head athletic therapist for the U of W Wesmen, and he also teaches limb-injury classes for the Faculty of Kinesiology and Applied Health.
“I look after injury care for all the athletes on the team. I like helping people work together and ... achieve their goals.”
Billeck’s passion and interest in sports motivated him to become an athletic therapist. He has been certified and working in the field for two decades.
“I have enjoyed sports my whole life, so I wanted to stay involved in sports, and I came across the athletic therapy as a way of doing that,” Billeck says.
For Billeck, sports are a way to motivate young players and to instill team spirit.
“I enjoy helping them recover from injuries and seeing them return to play and being able to achieve the goals for which they are working so hard.”
While Billeck supports tenacious young players, he also tries to communicate the need for recovery periods to them. He said he’s noticed that some athletes play throughout the year without any real time off, leading to injuries.
“What has changed these days (is) the need of athletes to play year-round. So, we see more chronic injuries in our athletes.”
Besides helping players perform better and getting them back on their feet after an injury, he also coaches teams outside the U of W. He is a staunch believer in continuous learning and advises his students to always strive to better themselves.
“It is impossible to know everything, so you should always be willing to learn and (take) new information and (test) out that information.”
What was your worst grade in university?
“My worst grade in university was absolutely (for) linear algebra. I got a D.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“I'm a parent, so it depends what you consider as a spare time. When I'm not working, I'm probably with my kids. I (coach them in) volleyball, hockey, and I really enjoy watching them play and develop in their activities.”
What book did you read recently?
“Most recent, I guess, is called The Ripple Effect by Greg Walls. He is a PhD from somewhere in Ontario.”
What is your favourite thing about yourself?
“I think what I like about my myself is that I got so much involved in athletics when I was younger, and I think it's opened a lot of opportunities for me now, being able to be an athletic therapist, enjoying being part of a team environment.”
Published in Volume 74, Number 5 of The Uniter (October 3, 2019)