Najeeb Emmanuel

College: College of Public Health
Degree: BS, athletic training, 2018
Hometown: Uniondale, New York

Athletics is in the DNA of Najeeb Emmanuel, CPH ’18: His father played college soccer and encouraged young Najeeb to play sports as well. But it was at Temple that Emmanuel turned his passion into a career, cutting his teeth as student athletic trainer for Temple football. Today, he serves as an assistant trainer for a Division I soccer program and as a concussion spotter for Major League Soccer.

Head first 

Emmanuel regularly watches from the sidelines as some of the top athletes in collegiate and professional sports push their bodies to the limit. But it’s when those bodies reach a potential breaking point that he springs into action.  

As assistant athletic trainer for Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, working primarily with the college’s DI men’s soccer team, Emmanuel has had to immobilize the neck of a player who couldn’t feel his extremities, and was the first medical professional to aid those with severely broken bones. As a side job, he watches Major League Soccer games virtually, helping to spot potential symptoms of concussion and make split-second decisions to prevent players from further brain injury. 

These intense situations require Emmanuel to keep his own head cool and provide a calming influence on athletes, coaches and parents. 

“When you step on a field and everybody’s panicking, you can’t panic. You don’t have that luxury,” Emmanuel said. 

The assist 

The son of Haitian immigrants, Emmanuel grew up in Uniondale, New York, a Long Island community about 20 miles east of Manhattan. He played many sports, eventually exceling in cross country and track at the local high school. 

While he was uncertain about whether or not he wanted to compete in college, he knew he wanted to meld his passion for athletics with academics. 

“I wanted to be involved in sports, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do exactly,” Emmanuel said.

He found his way at Temple. During his senior year of high school, he visited a cousin who was a first-year Owl, and knew right away he wanted to enroll. He found the students friendly and inviting, and liked that it felt a bit like New York City, but not as close to home. 

Plus, it had an athletic training program that Emmanuel immediately dove into.  

“I’d been an athlete for a very long time and had been surrounded by sports, and I knew I wanted to help people,” Emmanuel said. “Athletic training provided me a way of putting all my strong suits together.” 

Najeeb Emmanuel smiles into the camera.
Najeeb Emmanuel poses with a ball.

“Being from New York and not too far from the city, Philadelphia felt similar to home, but different. I met a lot of people there, and they were just really welcoming.”

–Najeeb Emmanuel
Assistant athletic trainer

Temple tackle 

Emmanuel credits Temple with giving him the chance to learn from the best. In 2015, while he served as a student athletic trainer, Emmanuel explains that then-head athletic trainer Al Bellamy and assistant athletic trainer Masahiro Takahagi (now both with the NFL’s Washington Commanders) taught him the ropes. 

“They were hard on me, but they were honest, and they showed me what it would be like to be an athletic trainer,” Emmanuel said. “I would not be the type of clinician I am now without their influence.”  

In his role at FIU, Emmanuel primarily helps athletes on the soccer team recover from injury, prepare for competition on gameday and remain calm when even the worst strikes. 

“When kids have pretty big injuries ... they can get depressed,” Emmanuel said. “They lean on you a lot for support. So when they’re able to get back on the field ... just seeing that joy on their face, that’s the rewarding part.”