New WellSport Team Members Join Program Services

Three new members of the clinical team at WellSport, MidMichigan Health’s Sports Medicine Program, bring a variety of new services to the area for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, including nutrition counseling, sports psychology and sports-oriented physiotherapy.

David Bearss, DPT, CSCS, has joined the rehabilitation staff at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland and the WellSport team. Bearss is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and sports nutrition from Central Michigan University and a doctorate in physiotherapy, also from CMU. Bearss is a seasoned athlete, former wrestler and avid runner who also has experience in bodybuilding and triathlon. He specializes in the analysis of the gait of walkers and runners and in repetitive trauma. Bearss has additional training in manual therapy and sports rehabilitation, as well as the treatment of shoulder injuries.

“I would never ask someone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself,” he said. “I exercise six days a week. I treat my patients as I would like to be treated.

The goal is to always encourage activities that prevent injury. For example, Bearss said, kids who specialize in a sport they play all year round place the same load on the body over and over again.

“I often tell parents to add another sport, to break things up one way or another,” he said. “Another example is an adult running and just running. They should add exercises that require different muscle groups so that they don’t exercise the same muscles all the time.

Bearss works closely with WellSport to provide gait analysis for runners and walkers. “I am delighted to launch this new program.

WellSport Nutritionist Ashley Shankool, RD, CDE, is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Nutrition Educator at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland. She is a long distance runner, whose husband and children are also avid sports enthusiasts, and understands the physical and nutritional demands of athletes of all ages.

Shankool holds a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and completed his dietetics internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago.

In WellSport’s sports nutrition program, food and water needs are taken into account. Dietary advice is offered for recovery from injury and after a workout, as well as weight management. Sport-specific nutritional recommendations and education are also provided. In nutrition counseling, Shankool answers questions about real foods versus nutritional supplements.

Training in sports psychology improves athletes’ psychological skills in managing mental stress from sports and improves physical skills and competitive play in top performing athletes. When psychological issues interfere with functioning, counseling can be helpful. Problems can result from perceived poor performance, pressure from coaches and trying to balance the demands of life with those of a sport, or more general emotional issues.

Michael Mischley, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in sports psychology. It offers treatment to people of all ages whose ability to be competitive or active is impaired by emotional or behavioral issues.

Mischley also prepares competitive athletes to face the pressures of competition and stay in their best performance zone. For people who wish to regain an active lifestyle lost over time due to issues such as depression, illness or physical injury, the combination of sports psychology is helpful.

For more information about WellSport, call (989) 837-9350.

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