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JD Bertrand, Championing Uplifting Athletes & Preparing for the NFL Draft

OFD talks with Bertrand on his work with Uplifting Athletes and his preparations for the NFL Draft

Notre Dame v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It is no secret that JD Bertrand has been a leader on and off the field for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team over the last 5 seasons. He is fresh off of being named a first team Academic All American, boasting over a 3.6 GPA. He is the 37th player in Notre Dame history to achieve this award, which is one of many awards he has received for his service and play.

Bertrand, a 2 time captain, has been working tirelessly over the last few years with an incredible organization that is near and dear to my heart. Uplifting Athletes is a non-profit that focuses on awareness, research, and fundraising for rare diseases. Their mission revolves around harnessing the power of sport to build a community that invests in the lives of people impacted by rare diseases. This work not only impacts the families and individuals, but helps fund critical research for doctors looking for cures. Uplifting Athletes is on the cusp of crossing the $1 Million threshold of grants awarded, which is largely made possible by the work of their athlete organizations around the country. Incredible teams like Notre Dame Football, Notre Dame Hockey, Holy Cross Football, and plenty of others are leading the charge in an effort to continue to raise awareness and money.

A family member of mine, Pat O’Connor is a communications manager for the org, and is a champion in his own right. He was able to connect OFD with JD to learn a bit about his work with this org! JD was also gracious enough to share a bit of his routine as he trains for the upcoming NFL Draft.

In talking about fond memories with Uplifting Athletes, JD noted,

“The first thing that comes to mind was the Costco event that wasn’t just limited to Notre Dame, but we were able to bring a bunch of guys and get more personal 1-1 time with the patients and parents and get them gifts for free from Costco. It was really cool to partner with Costco and see the impact we were making directly to the kids, parents, and families”

It is one of many events JD has been a part of - Fighting Irish media did an awesome feature on JD, which highlights some more of the key work he has done. Listening to him demonstrated the type of thoughtful teammate, leader, and person he is.....just impressive in all facets.

As mentioned, JD was also able to provide OFD an update on how his training has been going in California. He broke down the long days and hours he is dedicating in order to make an NFL roster in 2024. His days start at 6:15 and don’t stop until 9 as he prepares his body, mind, and interview skills as he looks to impress 32 NFL teams.

I’m Working out in Orange County with Accell Sports Management group. I’m working out and staying with guys from Washington, Utah, Kansas State, and Texas. The are like-minded guys so it’s been fun to get after it with them. I start at 6:15 with a cold shower and stretching. I get out of the house by 7 and watch film until 8 and eat breakfast. Meals are fully serviced, everything packed to meet my micro/macro needs. At 8:25 I head to the field for running and agility work. After that I head to the office for film and board work for about another hour. From there I usually get a lift from about 1-2:30. After a lift, it’s always about an hour of PT.

Recovery is also key so after PT I get into the sauna, cold tub, and do some contrast work. That is followed up by more film, board work, and extra meetings. We also do interview prep as part of this before getting a late dinner. After I get done I always try and get to bed by about 9 PM and then do it all over again.

The OFD community applauds JD on his work and cheer him on as he prepares for a life in the NFL. His work ethic is tireless and we will be cheering for whatever team he winds up making in the 2024 season.

Interested in donating/learning more about Uplifting Athletes? Feel free to check out more information Here. They are are hosting their annual Young Investigator Draft on February 3 in Philadelphia. The event is an NFL-style draft that recognizes 10 early-career medical professionals that are focused on rare disease research and awards them each with a $20,000 grant.