Marshfield Clinic-Ladysmith looks to take athletes to the next level

Marshfield Clinic-Ladysmith looks to take athletes to the next level

The Marshfield Clinic, Ladysmith Center has created a huge opportunity for area students and athletes this summer to help in strengthening, getting quicker, becoming more flexible, jumping higher and becoming an all around better athlete by offering a new class to assist them in bettering themselves on and off the field of competition. Jon Ekhoff, the new athletic trainer for the three area school districts, Ladysmith, Bruce and Flambeau is leading the way along with area coaches to give kids opportunities to become better for the upcoming sports season.  “I ran this program while working up in the Minocqua area with students at Lakeland Union High School for seven years.  It works!  I’ve tweaked and modified and added things over the years so that participants don’t feel like they are doing the same workout everyday.  What I’ve seen in my experience is that athletes in general have poor jumping mechanics, weak hips, poor flexibility, not very good balance and are pretty slow.  All of this leads to huge red flags as these are all very good indicators that injuries are going to happen.  Specifically to ankles, knees (ligaments, cartilage), hips and back,” stated Ekhoff.

This opportunity would not be possible without help from a Grant with Project Shine through Marshfield Clinic that Ekhoff applied for.  “This grant covered about half of the expenses involved with supplies.  The other half was covered with participants fee to participate.  Participants received a Medicine Ball, Mini-Band, and T-shirt along with 24, one hour sessions over a six week period.  I appreciate the Ladysmith School District for the use of their athletic facilities/fields as well and Coach Jacob Ebner and Coach Jeff Effertz for assisting me. I’m really excited for these participants and can’t wait to see what this fall brings for these kids,” Ekhoff pointed out.

So what is Project Shine you ask?

In 2017, more than 1,600 physicians and staff members gave to support Marshfield Clinic Health System’s mission.

One way many employees give is through the annual employee giving appeal.

· Employee donors contributed nearly $620,000 during the year.  That number sounds large but most of those are small gifts that added up to a huge impact.

·An average employee donor gives about $10 per paycheck

·More than $100,000 was granted out through the Project Shine Grant Fund in 2017.

·Project Shine Grants are used to enhance the patient experience throughout the system.


In recent years, Project Shine Grants have also been used to expand important patient care initiatives such as a pediatric treasure chest program.  These treasure chests have been distributed to nearly 40 pediatric and family practice departments throughout the system.  They are filled with a variety of items from carious age groups and are used to provide distraction during appointments and reward young patients for their bravery during invasive procedures.  Because of the support of employee donors, centers big and small now have this resource available to assist their patients.

    What are participants going to gain:?  “They should see faster 40 yard dash times, higher vertical jumps, and increased flexibility through sit and reach scores.  That’s objective data that we can measure and see improvements with,” Ekhoff stated.  “Subjectively, coaches/parents are going to see different athletes in their perspective sports come this fall.  Better balance, better core control, increased velocity when spiking volleyballs, ability to jump and control landings, increased conditioning, better ability to perform lifts in the weight room correctly, better ability to close and make tackles in football and or ability to avoid tacklers while running with the ball due to increases in agility and speed, swimmers are going to be stronger and faster in the pool.  I’m also increasing self confidence in these athletes ability to perform. In the end, this is a different type of workout than just being in the weight room lifting weights.  I’ve got 28 student athletes, 14 boys, 14 girls who are working harder, and more effectively, than they ever have.  This type of workout has also been shown to decrease the chances of injuries, because participants are being trained on how to move correctly.  This increased awareness translates to their perspective sports and participants will be able to self-correct before getting themselves into a bad situation leading to potential injuries.  Kinestetic Awareness is the term we like to use to describe this phenomenon.  It’s a training that I’d like to see happen year round,” Ekhoff concluded.

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