CP Client Spotlight – Jake Sprague
I recently wrote a guest post for Eric’s website discussing my mentality that the most interesting clients we have are the ones who qualify as our “general fitness” population. My contention was that the participants of our internship program would be missing the chance to get to know some truly amazing people if they didn’t ask questions and get to know the clients who don’t happen to have contracts with MLB organizations.
Jake Sprague just so happens to be the perfect example of a general fitness client with a past you wouldn’t ever be aware of if you didn’t ask. As far as I know, Jake is the only CP client who has come to us as an amateur athlete, made the jump to professional status, and ultimately earned the opportunity to represent his country on an international level in such a brief period of time. To take this story a step further, I should note that Jake accomplished these feats after taking up the sport of rugby during his junior year of college.
Almost as soon as it all began, with professional contract opportunities beginning to present themselves all over the globe, Jake saw it all come to a screeching halt due to complications from a prior shoulder surgery. Our staff here at CP stood alongside Jake throughout the highs and the lows of the past five years, and we’re proud to call him a friend and a client to this day.
Let’s take a closer look at how Jake got to where he is now, and how CP has played a role in the process.
“In my entire life, there have been two factors which I’ve managed to string together with any consistency: my 15-year relationship with my wife Haley, and my 5 years and 1,000+ training sessions at CP.”
Jake grew up in Norwell, MA, where he established a reputation for being a considerably better than average athlete early in life. He played competitive soccer for well over a decade and also proved himself to be one of the better high school wrestlers in the state. At Thayer Academy, Jake was a two-time state wrestling champion, earning the honor at both the 189lb and 215lb weight classes.
He eventually went on to attend Babson College with the intention of playing for their soccer team. It should come as little surprise that, at a body weight of 245lbs, Jake found himself straying away from the sport of soccer and embracing a game with a considerably more demanding physical component.
Friends at school talked Jake in to taking up rugby and he played in his first competitive contest during an event called the Beast of the East as a junior in college. It was during his very first game that he broke the orbital bone in his face. Surprisingly (or not at all if you know him personally) he walked away from the experience addicted to the game, having felt as if he’d found his calling.
An Introduction to the Competitive World of Rugby (and CP)
It took less than a single season with the Babson club team for Jake to separate himself from the level of quality found at the recreational level. He was soon invited to join the Boston-based Mystic River Rugby Club, a team competing in the top division of amateur men’s rugby. Due to the violent nature of the game, Jake suffered a 2009 shoulder injury requiring surgery. Following his procedure, he was introduced to CP by then employee, Brian St. Pierre.
Jake had a tough recovery from his shoulder reconstruction after developing a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in his lung) as a complication of the surgery. He spent six months on blood thinners and transitioned from a month of home-care/bed-rest, to being a full-time CP client focusing on the recovery of strength and his conditioning levels. As his strength improved, his performance on the field did as well.
After just six months of training with us, Jake was offered an opportunity to join the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) of the Super League. In order to keep up with the training demands of competing at this level, he made the decision to leave his full-time job in pursuit of a career as a professional athlete.
“CP took me from being a really good rec-league player to having the unique collection of strength, speed and skill required to play with the big boys. It was a big jump, but this place gave me the tools. I was entertaining professional offers from international clubs just six months after starting training.”
While in the midst of his first competitive season with NYAC, Jake was extended an invitation to attend a United States National Team camp. In his first camp, Jake earned a starting spot in a position called loosehead prop. His hard work paid off, resulting in an opportunity to play in two World Cup Qualifiers for the United States in 2011. For the remainder of that season, Jake balanced national team duties, NYAC duties, and training here at CP.
The End of a Brief Professional Career
One-week before the Superleague national semi-final with NYAC, Jake was feeling run down in all aspects of his training. During a regular strength training session here at CP, Eric called him out on his effort and Jake explained his recent feeling of lethargy. Rather than take the “rub some dirt on it” approach, Eric sent him to the hospital to be evaluated.
A series of medical tests revealed that Jake was once again dealing with the same type of clots he’d previously encountered. He was informed that he’d need to be on blood thinners for the rest of his life. Being on the thinners, Jake had to give up the dream of playing internationally because of the violent nature of the sport. Just a single hard hit could be enough to cause potentially life threatening internal bleeding. It was time to put his playing days behind him.
Strength Training is What Remains
Jake was forced to quickly return to the “real world” following his most recent set back. As one might imagine, the decision to discard his dream of playing rugby at the highest international level so suddenly proved to be an emotionally draining one. Since he was unable to entirely eliminate the need to push himself physically, Jake embraced his strength training regimen as if he were still a professional athlete.
“I honestly can’t bring myself to train anywhere else. CP has an x-factor that I can’t quite put my finger on. The combination of the personalities, the personalized training materials, and the energy in the gym is something that I’ll never find in another facility.”
Just three years removed from his playing days, Jake is still every bit the regular he’s always been here at CP. He spends an additional three commuting hours in the car three days a week to ensure that he never misses a lift. While he’s not training to play, he continues to be one of the strongest guys to set foot in our facility.
Just as he did with rugby, Jake is now throwing himself into a different type of work. He works 90+ hours each week at what are essentially two full-time jobs. At the Gifford School in Weston, MA, Jake works with students with behavioral, emotional and learning disabilities. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Jake is the VP/General Manager of his family roofing business, G.F. Sprague Inc.
Jake and his wife Haley are expecting their first child this coming fall. Despite extensive debates with Pete regarding what he’ll be able to fit into his schedule, Jake is convinced that he’ll find the time to keep his training at CP in the mix once his family expands by one…
“I have very few free hours in my week, and this is the place that I choose to use them. Here’s to hoping I figure out a way to continue doing so.”
Please shoot us an email (CresseyPerformance@gmail.com) if you’d like to receive additional information regarding CP’s services!