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Dodgers reportedly hire Neil Rampe, Nate Lucero as new athletic trainers

Nate Lucero has been the Astros head trainer for seven seasons, and will now reportedly join the Dodgers' training staff.
Nate Lucero has been the Astros head trainer for seven seasons, and will now reportedly join the Dodgers' training staff.
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LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have reportedly found new head and assistant athletic trainers, adding Neil Rampe and Nate Lucero, respectively, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Rampe spent the last eight seasons on the training staff for the Diamondbacks, while Lucero has been in the Astros organization for 23 years, including the last seven years as the Astros head athletic trainer.

Vice president of medical services Stan Conte resigned from the Dodgers on Oct. 17 to pursue his research in baseball injury analytics, and assistant athletic trainer Nancy Flynn stepped down to more of a consultant role on Nov. 5 to spend more time with her family.

The Dodgers have not officially announced any replacements as of yet.

Rampe, 37, was with the D-backs from 2008-15 as their manual and performance therapist and before that spent five years at the University of Arizona as the associate director of performance enhancement. The Dodgers' reported selection of Rampe was first reported by Will Carroll on Nov. 23.

Lucero, 45, was on various Astros minor league training staffs from 1993-2001, then served five years as the club's minor league strength and conditioning coordinator before working two years (2007-2008) as the Astros' assistant trainer on the major league staff.

Lucero, who graduated from New Mexico State, and the Astros parted ways in October.

Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle has more from Houston GM Jeff Luhnow:

"Nate’s done a tremendous job and he had a long and valuable service with the Astros but he’s not part of our plans going forward," Luhnow said. "We are recruiting immediately for a head athletic trainer and that’s going to be starting right now."

There was known friction between Lucero and [Bill] Firkus, who now oversees the athletic training staff after being brought in by Luhnow as a medical analyst.

Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy was with Rampe in Arizona.

McCarthy later clarified he meant only Rampe and has not had experience with Lucero.

Rampe played soccer for four years and was a two-time NAIA All-American at the University of Findlay in Ohio, where he earned two bachelors degrees, one in athletic training and another in physical education with a strength and conditioning emphasis. He received a Masters degree in applied kinesiology from the University of Minnesota.

"A lot of the things we focus on with regards to recovery is lifestyle education, sleep and rest, monitoring heart rate variabilities," Rampe described his work in an interview at the Sports Rehab Teleseminar in 2013. "Nutrition and supplementation education is huge, as is hydrotherapy.

"We're traveling, and guys are on planes a lot. Getting guys in proper compression wear is something that can help."

If you wanted to watch Rampe give a report on the role of compression garments in athletic recovery, you are in luck:

One of the areas Rampe has focused on is posture and its effect on breathing and athletic performance, telling Men's Health Magazine in April, "It’s like driving with your alignment off. You can compensate by over-steering, but if you don’t correct it, your tires will wear out after 30,000 miles instead of 60,000."

Rampe is certified by the Postural Restoration Institute, and his methods were described by Brian Hall of in June.

Good posture allows your body to more easily discern whether you're in "activity mode" or "rest mode"—which is especially helpful for athletes. One of the most important aspects in getting your body to switch into "rest and recover" mode is to achieve what Rampe calls "convincing exhalation," an aspect of breathing that is only possible with correct posture. He says, "You need convincing exhalation to get air into some places you might not normally be able to get air into, as well as get air out of some areas you might not normally be able to get air out of. This allows you to get into a more rested state. The ability to adapt is a key survival component. You should be able to amp it up when you need to amp it up and wind it down when you need to wind down."

Several players on the Diamondbacks have integrated PRI techniques and exercises into their daily routines. "Some guys do it each morning to get into a good postural position for the day ahead," Rampe says. "And they'll do it after a game to help facilitate their rest and recovery."