March 2004

Jeff Woodrich, PT -
Fights Others’ Pain and Discomfort Every Day

by Joseph H. RADDER

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When Jeff Woodrich gets up in the morning he can be pretty sure he's going to help some people feel better that day. As a skilled physical therapist he uses exercise, ultra-sound, heat, ice, hydro therapy and electric stimulation to restore function to those who have been injured, who have undergone surgery or who are experiencing pain for no apparent reason.

Jeff is the clinical coordinator in charge of the Amherst office of the Buffalo Rehab Group in the Northtown Medical Center at 8750 Transit Road, Amherst. Buffalo Rehab has three locations, the original in West Seneca, now located at 2100 Union Road, the Amherst center and the South Park location at 4780 South Park Avenue, Hamburg.

"Repetition catches up with us," he says. Apparently our bodies can repeat the same motions for many years without problems, but over time that repetition will cause the body to break down.

The Buffalo Rehab Group was founded in the mid-eighties by Paula Zablonski, Martin Lambert and Patrick O'Connor, who are still the principals and owners of the organization.

"One thing I always stress, especially to the 50-plus age group," Jeff said, "is the great benefit of warm water. We have a pool here at the Amherst facility, which is of tremendous benefit for joint replacement in the lower extremities, even injuries in the trunk and upper extremities. The warm water of the pool, the hydrostatic pressure , the buoyancy, all create a great environment for rehabilitation."

Jeff Woodrich was destined to help others through physical therapy from the start. That was his major in college, (UB) where he was on the Dean's list and graduated cum laude.

Born in Wisconsin in 1968, Jeff moved here with his parents at an early age. His father, Gregory Woodrich, was a Civil Engineer and worked with a number of companies including National Fuel Gas and the Bechtel Corporation. He is currently semi-retired.

Jeff's mother, Claudia Torbeck Woodrich, was a full-time mother and housewife. He has one brother, Christopher, who is a physical education teacher for two Catholic schools and coaches basketball at the Park School.

Jeff Woodrich and Kim Taylor were married on July 21, 1990 at St. Peter & Paul's Church in Hamburg. They have two children, Jacob 6, who attends kindergarten at Orchard Park Elementary School, and Hannah who is 2 "going on 20".

As a child, Jeff Woodrich was very interested in sports. "I have good memories of playing baseball at about 6 or 7 on Heath Street in North Buffalo. I remember going with the neighborhood kids to the local park. We all played on the same team. I don't remember having coaches. And I don't remember parents there. It's much different now." Woodrich agreed that the old ways were much better.

Woodrich went to elementary school at St. Joseph's University parish school, then on to SS. Peter and Paul, Hamburg. After fourth grade he went to Union Pleasant School in Hamburg, then to Hamburg High School.

As a teenager, he had a Courier-Express paper route. "I guess that's how I got strong", he said, "carrying two heavy bags of papers every Sunday morning." He also worked at a convenience store while in college. His first job after getting his PT degree was on the home care staff at the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville. He joined the Buffalo Rehab Group in 1993.

As indicated earlier, he studied Physical Therapy at the University of Buffalo and graduated cum laude (YEAR?). During his first year at UB he played baseball in the school's Division I team.

One day he was walking out of practice from the Alumni Arena and the door hit a folding table that was there. The table collapsed and cut into the back of Jeff's Achilles tendon. So he took a towel from the trainer's room and wrapped it around the cut, not realizing how deep it was. It was Jeff's turn to drive back to Hamburg with his two friends and, not realizing how serious his injury was, he proceeded to do so. "I was driving back home on the 290," he remembers, "and I passed out from loss of blood." Fortunately, his friends were able to maneuver the car to the shoulder without incident and then one of them took over the wheel and rushed to get him help. "Later," he recalls, "I had physical therapy, and that's kind of how I got into this field. When I was younger, I hurt my back playing basketball and I had physical therapy then, but I didn't really know until I was in college that this was what I wanted to do with my life."

Today, he lives by the Golden Rule. "I treat people how I would like to be treated," Woodrich says. In addition, he never looks back, but is always looking ahead.

We asked about the apparent paradox in America…an obesity epidemic and, at the same time, the gyms are all crowded and people seem to be into fitness more than ever before. "We're eating way more than we've ever eaten," he replied. "We've got a Tim Horton's on every corner. At McDonald's we don't order fries, we order super-size fries. And at the same time we're less active than we've ever been. Most jobs are sedentary jobs. You're sitting at a computer, you're sitting watching TV, you're sitting playing a video game. Parents don't kick their kids out of the house like our parents used to. The other thing is vehicles. Cars are really a bad thing. We don't walk anywhere."

Above all, Jeff Woodrich has a positive attitude. He's a smiler, the kind of person we need more of in this world today.

Joseph H. Radder, a frequent contributor to Living Prime Time, is author of a new book, “Young Jesus, the Missing Years”. For more information, phone 1-888-280-7715 or visit www.1stbooks.com

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