Important Member of the Team

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

He's too dressed up to be a coach and not quite young enough to be a player, but Mike Scandin plays a vital role at the D.C. Everest football team's practices. He's the team's physical therapist.

Scandin, who works at Sport and Spine Clinic in Wausau, arrived in Wausau in 1989.

"At that time some coaches were a little leery about if a therapist is here. Every kid's gonna say they have an injury, but over the past 15 years things have changed."

Now, nearly every high school in the area utilizes a physical therapist. Like Mike, they usually attend every home and away game with the team and go to about three practices a week.

Not only has physical therapy for high school athletes grown in scope, the way it's approached has also changed. Therapists we talked to say there's much more of a focus on preventing injuries from every happening. That means teaching the young athletes the proper way to train.

Nada Phinney is Wausau West's physical therapist and says, "I think they do a good job of getting into school, getting into the weight room and making sure kids are doing exercises correctly."

The therapists still treat quite a few injuries, mostly knee and ankle sprains, but Scandin says they've seen incidents of some injuries decrease thanks to preventive measures, and they hope that trend continues so they can do more cheering on the sidelines and less treating on the sidelines.