Michael A. Clark M.S. ’99In his first year at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Michael Clark M.S. ’99, a member of the football team and a pre-med major, knew he wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon—it was the perfect career that combined his interests in academics and sports.
It wasn’t until he witnessed a teammate’s ACL tear and grueling recovery that he knew physical therapy would better suit him.
“I saw what my teammate went through,” Clark said. “The physical therapist was with him through the whole process, literally taking him from where he couldn’t walk to being back on the field playing football. I really liked that.”
Clark then decided to transfer into the physical therapy program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in physical therapy and exercise and sport science, learning from some of the top orthopedic and sports therapy specialists in the nation. Following graduation, Clark took his first job as a physical therapist in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
As a practicing physical therapist, Clark worked with numerous high school, college and professional athletes across Wisconsin. Although he enjoyed his job, Clark decided he wanted to continue his education and research in exercise and sport science to make an even larger impact in the sport therapy industry. He chose to attend Carolina, where he enrolled in a bilateral master’s program in sport medicine and human movement science within the department of exercise and sport science (EXSS).
Education and innovation
While completing his master’s degree, Clark created meaningful relationships with some of the leading experts in the EXSS field, including Kevin Guskiewicz, Darin Padua and Bill Prentice.
“Being at UNC really inspired me and allowed me to be creative and innovative while also forming some phenomenal relationships,” he said.
Already a practicing physical therapist working in …