Mike Bean has always been a fan of the University of Notre Dame athletics, especially football, so when the Black Hills State University alumnus got an internship in Notre Dame’s sports medicine department, he was fulfilling a dream.
That was in 1990. Today, Bean is still at Notre Dame and is now an assistant athletic trainer for the Fighting Irish football team which just finished one of its most successful seasons in decades with a 12-0 record.
“I was actually very fortunate to have the opportunity to come here,” he said. “It was a chance to build my resume and to fulfill a little bit of a dream.”
After his internship ended, a permanent position became available and Bean was hired as a full-time trainer for Notre Dame. Bean has since moved up the ladder.
In the beginning of his career with Notre Dame, Bean served as the athletic trainer for the university’s baseball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, hockey, and men’s and women’s tennis teams. He has been a trainer with the football team since 1995.
Originally from Belle Fourche, Bean began his studies at BHSU. He spent three years at BHSU before transferring to Southwest Missouri State in 1989 to pursue athletic training. While at BHSU he worked with the football, wrestling and basketball teams as an athletic trainer. BHSU coaches Dave Little and Walt Cook first introduced Bean to the possibility of athletic training as a career.
“They were two of the best mentors I had as far as my education – they got me to where I am now,” he said.
Aside from being an assistant athletic trainer for Notre Dame football, Bean also supervises the student-athletic trainer program and serves on the Big East Conference Sports Medicine Committee.
While he has been the athletic trainer for a variety of Notre Dame sports, it is the football program where Bean has found his home.
“This day and age it is a year-round sport. You are always doing something,” Bean said. “There is a small window of a couple weeks when the players aren’t on campus doing some kind of work. You spend an enormous amount of time with them.”
As an athletic trainer, Bean is involved with anything related to the health of the athlete, whether it is monitoring the day-to-day treatment of injuries or referring a player to one of the team doctors.
“It is always a challenge and something that is new every day,” he said. “There is a lot of satisfaction in seeing these guys get well and helping them return to their pre-injury state and get back on the field. I think the biggest thing is that, at the end of the day, you are helping (the players) pursue their goals and aspirations.“
“Being a part of a unique team and organization is a special feeling too,” Bean said. “There are a lot of people behind the scenes that make a football program work - sports medicine is part of that.”
Bean live sin South Bend, Ind., with his wife, Colleen, and two daughters, Taylor and Courtney.