Savig leaving Willmar sidelines

Not long ago coaches had to deal with game-time injuries the best they knew. "Sometimes, we'd take them back into the dressing room, and if it (the injury) didn't seem too bad we'd tape 'em up and send them back out," recalled Dewey Bock, whose c...

Not long ago coaches had to deal with game-time injuries the best they knew.

"Sometimes, we'd take them back into the dressing room, and if it (the injury) didn't seem too bad we'd tape 'em up and send them back out," recalled Dewey Bock, whose coaching career here and elsewhere spanned four decades.

Coaches were often forced to rely on their instinct, plus what was learned in First Aid 101. When the injury was crippling, they hoped a helpful physician was in the house (which there often was at Cardinal games).

That began to change in September, 1991, when Rodney Savig joined the physical therapy department at the ACMC.

Savig was a certified athletic trainer who had earned his degree at North Dakota State University and also had gained work experience in Fargo.


For 17 years, he's been a familiar face near the Cardinal bench and in the rehabilitation room. This month he moved his family to Faribault to take a similar position.

"It was time for a change and this is a tremendous opportunity," he said by phone Tuesday. "I'll be dealing in all aspects of athletic training and rehabilitation."

He'll cover Faribault sports and also do some work with the city's acclaimed private school, Shattuck St. Mary's, though that athletic programs has two full-time trainers of their own for just two sports (hockey and soccer). His new employer is Mankato Orthopedic and Fracture's Rehab 1 division.

Jim Andresen, manager of the Physical Therapy Department at the ACMC, said two candidates among three applicants have already been interviewed for the opening.

"We hope to have someone in place soon," he said. "Between Willmar, New London-Spicer and Ridgewater, we have 15 events (to cover) through September."

Chris Heminover, the other certified athletic trainer on staff, covers Ridgewater sports and New London-Spicer High School. On Mondays, he makes "house calls" at high schools in Clara City, Kerkhoven and Belgrade.

Until the position is filled, Andresen, a 1969 Clara City graduate, said he and other physical therapists will fill in.

Under contract, athletic trainers concentrate on the contact or high-impact sports, like football, hockey, volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling.


On site, Savig saw injured athletes in a small "office" and treatment room just off the Cardinals' gym.

Paul Schmidt, assistant principal, said he appreciated Savig's professionalism.

"The word for him was 'steady,' " said Schmidt, formerly the athletic director here. "Day-in and day-out you could count on him. He had a great demeanor; he stayed calm and was also very detailed."

His specialty was football, often traveling with the Cardinal football team and staffing the Ridgewater home games. Many times, I've watched him gently manipulate a grimacing athlete's knee, wishing the news would be good and not season-ending.

Are knees injuries the most frequent injury he treats? he was asked.

"No, ankles are No. 1," he said. "Knees, from tendonitis to a ruptured ACL, are next and then shoulders are No. 3."

Just like Mike

Phelps, that is. Alissa Tinklenberg, who has won her share of medals at four state meets, said that watching Michael Phelp's the past week was "inspiring."


More than most, competitive swimmers understand how singular an achievement it is to make the Olympic team, let alone medal. But eight gold medals?

"It's near insane, the amount of intensity it takes to swim 17 races (perfectly) in one week," said the junior, who was on her first All-State relay in seventh grade.

"You can't ever hope to do what he did but it does make you want to work harder to get to the next level," she said. "He's so modest and humble, too. Definitely a role model."

Does she dream of one day swimming for her country?

"All the time," she smiled. "I'd like to least get to the Trials."

Lost to best

Still in the Olympic mode: Drew Larson, the 2007 Willmar grad now wrestling at St. John's, had Minnesota Olympian Jake Deitchler pegged correctly when Deitchler was still in junior high.

After Larson lost to Deitchler in the 145-pound Class AAA championship match at the Xcel Energy Center on March 3, 2007, Larson was quoted: "I put him on a pedestal when I was down here (as a spectator) in ninth grade and he was an eighth-grader. Now, I'm wrestling him."


After Larson lost a major decision 16-4, he said of the two-time champion who was 82-1 his sophomore and junior years: "He's always on the attack; he never stops."

The 18-year-old Anoka graduate lost two close matches in Beijing, his inexperience at the international level showing. Deitchler now plans to concentrate exclusively on Greco-Roman instead of wrestling for the Minnesota Gophers.

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