Division adjunct faculty member promoted within USC Athletics

JohnMeyerBY JOHN HOBBS MA ’14

John Meyer DPT ’98 got some very good news in early October.

The adjunct faculty member and senior physical therapist for USC Athletics found out that he was being promoted to associate athletic director of sports science and performance.

Meyer’s promotion comes as part of a larger Athletic Department restructuring following the recent departure of senior associate athletic director Mark Jackson, according to an Oct. 1 email from USC Director of Athletics Pat Haden ’75. Jackson left USC to take an athletic director position at Villanova University.

“Dr. Meyer has been a long valued member of the athletic department,” Haden said. “In his new role as associate athletic director of sports science and performance, he will be leading us in many new initiatives that will lead to better performance from our students.”

Meyer began working with USC Athletics in 2003 as a consultant before being hired full-time in 2005 as director of rehabilitation, a once cutting-edge position.

“At that time, there wasn’t a physical therapist overseeing rehabilitation in that capacity in any of the Pac-12 schools,” Meyer said. “So it was an exciting opportunity for me to get into sports physical therapy and sports performance.”

Meyer worked for the USC Athletic Medicine Department in that capacity until 2010, at which point he took a part-time role to begin rehabilitation and performance consulting in professional sports.

Now, 10 years later, Meyer is once again stepping into an innovative position as he leads his colleagues in Athletic Medicine, Strength and Conditioning and Sports Nutrition to develop “the premier system of sports health and performance optimization for Trojan student athletes.”

“We are looking to build a consistent rehabilitation and performance philosophy, system and culture that maximizes student athletes’ health and performance while they’re here and then gives them the foundation and skills to carry it on after they leave USC,” Meyer said.

Some of the factors Meyer and his colleagues will be scrutinizing include rehabilitation and performance data collected from wearable technology during rehab, practice and games as well as sleep, hydration levels, nutrition, mental health and even academic load to determine how it all fits together to make a student athlete successful. The investigation to analyze outcomes, measure and track changes to establish USC performance metrics is already underway with football and soccer, and Meyer aims to expand it to other sports in the near future.

Meyer earned his doctor of physical therapy in 1998 from the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and completed an orthopedic physical therapy residency at USC in 1999. He’s been teaching within the division since 2000.

He said his time at the division as both a student and an educator has impacted his career as he’s risen through the ranks at USC Athletics. “I draw on the skills of critical thinking, analyzing current research and athlete centered care daily”. Meyer said. “These basic skills are ones I developed and began honing early within the walls of USC.”