Seaside Barbell’s mission is to prevent injuries


Story and photos by Sue Cody

Dan Leary 1

“I am training to stay out of a living facility when I'm 85,” says Dan Leary, jokingly.

Leary believes in staying healthy and loves training athletes and others to help reduce the number of injuries incurred during activities. He uses the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), which is a ranking and grading system for mobility, flexibility and movement.

Leary and his wife Margie created Seaside Barbell to help students train and reduce liability.

Having worked with athletes, coaches and others in weight training at Seaside High School since 2010, Dan Leary would like to share his success with other schools in Clatsop County. To that end, he recently held free screenings at Astoria High School and invited students from Knappa, Warrenton and Astoria. Seventy-five students participated and were rated in seven different areas of movement. Where necessary, they were given exercises to improve.

“More than half had low scores,” says Leary, “but with corrective training they could improve in eight to 12 weeks.


Jetta IdeueSuccesses

Leary has been working with Whitney Westerholm for five years and Jetta Ideue for three years. Both were instrumental in helping the Seaside softball team reach the state playoffs this year for the first time in 35 years.

“This training is really awesome,” says Ideue. “Definitely the Learys have made a big improvement in sports, and they don’t get paid.”

“The screening shows where subtle weaknesses are. It’s awesome,” says Westerholm. “Guys come in thinking ‘I’m strong,’ but this shows the subtle imbalances. These exercises work on imbalance and movement. Form really does matter for strength.”

She said a lot of injuries were avoided because of this training which makes them “bullet proof and explosive’”

“The training is open and the Learys will train anyone,” says Ideue.


A bit of history

When Coast Guardsman Leary was in North Carolina, he was a youth football coach and offered training to kids on his lawn on Sunday afternoons. “Capt. Richard Shumway showed me the way,” Leary says. “He taught how to train movements, not muscles.”

In 2010, Leary was stationed in Clatsop County, working at the U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer training facility.

He called Seaside High School and volunteered to do strength and conditioning training with the football team. “Coach Stubby Lions opened his arms to both me and my wife Margie,” Dan Leary says.

Leary became an FMS certified trainer in 2013 and created Seaside Barbell. He says he followed the rescue swimmer training methodologies in setting up the Seaside Barbell program. He has seen a 25 percent reduction in injuries for the Seaside football team.

Coaches in other disciplines saw the value of the program, and now the Learys screen participants in all boys and girls athletics at Seaside High.


Dan Leary 2Expanding to other schools

Astoria High has seen the benefits of involving Certified Athletic Trainer Chad Rankin in its sports programs. Rankin and Columbia Memorial Hospital physical therapists Tracy Nygaard Brockey and Tiffany Nyguyen volunteered to screen students at the June events at Astoria.

Dan Leary has a strong desire to expand the FMS to other schools. “Although we compete against each other, I don't want to see any child get injured,” he says.

“We’re learning what we’re doing wrong and finding ways to fix it,” Warrenton volleyball coach Michelle Arney says about FMS.

Training coaches and others is the long-term goal. “The more people we can get involved, the better,” said Astoria coach Gordon Thompson.

The Way to Wellville and Leary recently applied for a grant to help cover expenses in expanding FMS to all other Clatsop County schools. It would have provided equipment and training for the program. Unfortunately the grant was not funded. But Leary says is not giving up.

“If kids work out in the morning, have a healthy meal, then go to class, “They are awake, focused and primed to learn,” Leary says.