John Seivert: Gratitude starts with role models
I have been the Bear River High School football programs Physical Therapist since 2001. I had just moved to Grass Valley from Santa Cruz the prior year. I traded the ocean for the foothills and a close community with quality education and opportunities to raise our kids. While in my first year out of PT school (1985), I worked in a clinic in Tempe, Arizona, a few blocks from Arizona State University. High school football in Arizona is akin to the TV show “Friday Night Lights.” High school football is woven into the lives of many. My boss, Scott English, PT in the private practice I was working, spent his Friday nights on the local McClintock High School varsity football games field. He would then follow up with a Saturday morning free injury clinic for any injured athlete the previous night. He called it the “Bump & Bruise Clinic.” When I asked him if he was getting paid for all this extra work, he gave me a look and then proceeded to tell me that as a PT living and working in a community, we must help wherever and whenever we can. I felt a little sheepish after my inquiry and then decided to help. I showed up at the Saturday morning bump and bruise clinics for the rest of the season and was hooked. I know, if there ever was a time and a place to do this on my own – I would.
After spending 18 years working in various clinics for Kaiser Permanente all over the Bay Area, I moved to Grass Valley. In September of 2001, I showed up at the Bear River High School home opener. I walked onto the field and introduced myself to the team doctors, Doctors William Mora and Byron Lake. After telling them what my idea was in helping, they were overjoyed at my proposal. I was introduced to the coaching staff as the new PT for the team. This is my 20th year of doing my Monday morning Bump and Bruise Clinic, and I look forward to it every week during Fall.
Role Models can come in many ways
Coaches Savoie and Logue have changed the lives of hundreds of young men over the past three decades of teaching and coaching at Bear River High School. I know because I see the product. I see these kids show up at 6 a.m. (now it’s 7 a.m. due to the new school schedule) on Monday mornings with all their injuries. What keeps me coming back is how these kids treat me. Respect even isn’t the best way to describe it. These young men are polite and grateful even at 7 a.m. Some kids would need daily PT to get them ready for the next game. I remember one kid who had a thigh contusion and hematoma (a large bruise), and he was on crutches and could barely put weight on the leg. By the end of the week, he was on the field running for five touchdowns and over 240 yards rushing. That is my motivation. I was like a proud parent watching him break tackles for a record-setting evening.
Role Models shine in all situation
When I’m on the field and watch the coaches in the heat of battle, I see respect going both ways. Sure, there is a lot of screaming and gesturing, but it is controlled and purposeful. I have never heard any of the coaches curse at a player or referee. I can’t say that was the case for my high school football career. My high school coaches should have been used for the “what NOT to do” role model. The Bear River coaches have also taught every player to pick up their opponent after the play. It shows respect and confidence. The countless times I would watch the coaching staff empower a kid to concentrate, do their job, and forget about the mistake, makes me feel so grateful to be on the sidelines and witness what coaching should look like.
Pay it Forward
This winter, I had a gentleman come to see me in the clinic because his son of 15 years ago went into the clinic on one of those Monday mornings for treatment. He said he wanted to support me and come to my clinic for his PT needs. This has also happened with a few kids who went away to college, earned their degree, got married, and then returned to the community to need PT and chose to come to see me. I am grateful these young adults thought it through to come and see me. However, that is not why I continue to support these kids every year. I get energy from seeing these kids grow up and continue to be such great young men. Last year a graduate from 2005 came to see me for his post-op knee surgery. He was just as polite, kind, and grateful as the day I saw him 16 years earlier. That kind of personality is formed in the early years, especially during our most impressionable times, high school. I attribute so many of these kids’ excellent work ethic, respect, and gratitude to these two coaches that announced their retirement last month. Coach Scott Savoie and Terry Logue, thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be a part of your life and career of teaching and coaching. Lastly, I want to give a shout-out to Scott English, PT. He ignited the fire in my heart to be a role model for others in our profession to support the youth of our community.
John Seivert is a doctor of physical therapy and he has been practicing for 34 years. He opened Body Logic Physical Therapy in Grass Valley in 2001. He has been educating physical therapists since 1986. Contact him at bodylogic2011@ yahoo.com.
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