Teen of the Week: Belpre’s Christopher Copen works toward career in sports medicine | News, Sports, Jobs

Christopher Copen prepares to shoot the basketball during a recent game. (Photo Provided)

BELPRE — Washington County Career Center junior Christopher Copen hopes to help future patients work through injuries and get back on their feet.

Copen is studying Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. He decided on the major after multiple visits to the school.

“I came on a field trip in fifth grade,” he said. “We were supposed to visit in eighth grade, but that was the year after COVID-19. I came back as a sophomore and thought, ‘yes. This is what I want to do.’”

Passion for sports is a family affair. His mom, Lauren, is a Certified Athletic Trainer and teaches the Exercise Science program at the Career Center.

“She’s taught here for 13 years. Having my mom tell me what she taught really helped,” he said.

Christopher Copen, second from right, hangs out with his family on a back deck. (Photo Provided)

Copen said he always benefited from Lauren’s orthopedic knowledge.

“She would explain what happened if my brothers or I got hurt playing sports. She told us what we needed to do to make it better,” he said.

Copen said he’s been around sports for most of his life and that influenced his career choice.

“I’ve always been around sports and wanted to stick around there. I want to pursue athletic training when I graduate,” he said.

Copen also said he wanted to relate to people and help them work through their injuries. He said taking the Exercise Science and Sports Medicine course will bring him closer to his goals.

Christopher Copen, right, and a friend goof off in a recent photo. (Photo Provided)

“It’s really beneficial for me. I can get a college credit class that will help me later in life,” he said.

He also enjoys the hands-on nature of the program.

“Everyone helps everyone. If you don’t know something, someone else will step in and help you,” he said.

The students split time between their lab time and classroom lecture. They regularly take online exams as well as final exams.

“We do a lot of review games to study,” Copen said. “That helps a lot because it’s fun and you’re learning the material.”

Christopher Copen throws a pitch as a member of the American Legion Post 64 baseball team. (Photo Provided)

Copen said he also enjoys seeing his athletic progress. Students are tested on their grip strength, vertical jump, broad jump and pull up.

Copen also plays sports for Belpre High School.

“I’m currently playing basketball and will start baseball in the spring,” he said.

Copen said while he likes both sports, he really enjoys baseball.

“I like the flow of the game and I like to use my whole body,” he said.

Christopher Copen, left, and a friend goof off during a class assembly. (Photo Provided)

He’s played baseball since he was 5, but this will be his third year with Belpre.

Kristen Hainkel can be reached at


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Christopher Copen dribbles the basketball around a Trimble High School defender during a recent game. (Photo Provided)

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