It's been a long six weeks for Packer fans watching Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines after breaking his collar bone during a game in week 9 against the Chicago Bears. With his return still questionable in this week's game against the Cowboys, many fans are wondering what if there was a way to heal injuries like the QB's sooner. Well there is and it's technology only available in Your Town Greater Wausau.
That technology is drawing national and international attention, including some from family members of the green and gold.
While he can usually be found on the sidelines cheering on his QB son, when it's not game day Dr. Ed Rodgers, yes Aaron Rodgers dad, is busy with his California chiropractic practice. So what brings him to the Frozen Tundra? Not what you might expect. Dr. Rodgers and chiropractors from across the nation are convening on Central Wisconsin to get training by Antigo's own Dr. Curt Draeger.
"I haven't seen anything like this anywhere else," Dr. Rodgers tells NewsChannel 7.
The "thing" his is referring to is the world's most powerful hot laser, used only by Dr. Draeger and his associates to treat injuries and heal chronic pain.
"It absolutely is the best healing tool I have ever seen in 28-years of practice," Dr. Draeger gushes.
Dr. Draeger started using lasers to treat pain in 2005. After seeing how they sped up healing on U.S. Decathlon athletes at the Olympics in Greece, he brought the technology back to Wisconsin where he's been working on perfecting it.
"Our lasers can reach that depth so that we can actually get into the nerve cells and inside the nerve cells the message of pain is actually memorized so it's on a continuous loop" Dr. Draeger explains. "So when you bathe those nerves with the infrared light from the laser it erases that."
Now he's offering the laser treatment to more than just top notch athletes. Hugo Mielke was a dairy farmer.
"You have the Packers who fight against 300lb linemen. Farmers fight against 1,300lb cows," Mielke laughs.
After decades of fighting those cows, Mielke's knees were shot.
"It's just wear and tear that goes along with the hard occupation of dairy farming," Mielke explains.
Scared that knee and hip replacements were in his future, Mielke sought the help of Dr. Draeger and his hot laser. After just seven months, Meilke's feeling like a 20-year old again.
"I can do virtually everything I used to with no pain," Mielke smiles. "It's kind of unique that you have the opportunity of living right here because people come from all over parts of the United States now to get these treatments that's available right here."
While Dr. Draeger says it's awesome shining the spotlight on Central Wisconsin, he wants to take this technology global.
"Now I want to train other doctors how to take care of their patients and give them the best healing tool I've ever found," Dr. Draeger tells NewsChannel 7.
He's teaming up with Dr. Rodgers to do it.
"It really is a high tech, up and coming thing for treating injuries and keeping tissues healthy," Dr. Rodgers says. "It's great to be on the cusp of that and to be able to introduce that to the nation."
One local business is helping the doctors do just that. Crystal Finishing Systems has been a fixture in the Wausau economy since their inception in the early 1990's, working on aluminum extrusion and coatings. But now they're taking on a new challenge, the medical field. The company is branching out and starting a separate company known as Crystal Medical that will design and assemble the world's most powerful hot laser.
"One day I was actually getting my back adjusted and he had a part laying in one of his treatment rooms and I just asked him what it was and he goes, 'Oh, well that's a part that I'm actually producing." And I go, oh where are you having that made? He said oh, I'm having that done in Florida. I'm like, do you realize you can have it done a block from here?" Crystal Finishing Systems President Mark Matthiae remembers.
Dr. Draeger took Matthiae's advice and for the last 4 years the duo has been working together creating a plan to produce the exclusive lasers at the company's plant in Wausau.
"This is such a great community and we have such a great workforce here," Dr. Draeger says. "He [Matthiae] has the best workers and he's very proud of them and he loves to take care of them."
Soon there will be even more employees to take care of as Matthiae anticipates the creation of quite a few high-level jobs from engineering to electrical technicians.
"We're just excited." Matthiae says. "It's a good area to do business and we want to keep bringing in good talent and retaining our talent that we have here in this area."
"I never thought that it would get this big this fast and have the opportunity to have the ability to treat so many different people from so many different places," Dr. Draeger chuckles.
Dr. Draeger and Matthiae are expecting mass production of the lasers to begin within the next six months pending final FDA approval and certification.
Newly founded Crystal Medical will also produce a variety of other products beyond the hot laser, which they hope will continue to draw attention to the greater Wausau area.
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