Maxim Physical Therapy
By Enjoy Magazine
Story by Aaron Williams
Photos by James Mazzotta and Aaron Williams
BY CONSERVATIVE ESTIMATES, Steve Westlake and his co-workers at Maxim Physical Therapy have used roughly 350 miles of athletic tape in the 30 years he’s been involved with helping student athletes in the North State.
Add in the miles of pre-wrap (a layer under the tape) and you’re talking about a round-trip taping trip between Redding and Corvallis, Ore.
The 1980 Shasta High School graduate returned to the North State in 1988 after playing baseball and completing studies at the University of the Pacific. He worked for the San Francisco 49ers for a time, but returned home to work with Hal Williams at Redding Physical Therapy.
“Hal had this sports medicine relationship with some of the area coaches,” Westlake says. “It was getting out of hand with the facility being bombarded, and when I came on, one of Hal’s requests was, ‘Can we put a foundation on this program?’”
After reaching out to the schools, the program grew. When another Shasta High grad, Jim Tomasin, returned home from playing football and studying at the University of California at Davis, it “mushroomed into what it is now,” said Westlake, a certified athletic trainer and physical therapy assistant.
Maxim, Westlake, Tomasin and staff work to cover games at Shasta, Enterprise, Central Valley, University Preparatory, Anderson and Foothill high schools, in addition to treating middle-school athletes. From football to basketball to soccer and wrestling, the Maxim team and students in the district’s sports medicine program staff games to ensure athletes are taped and assess injuries should they happen. Additionally, there are dedicated sports medicine training rooms on the Shasta and Enterprise campuses that Westlake and Tomasin staff on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“When I was in high school, there was nothing like this,” Westlake said. “Coaches did the taping and I remember that Bob Beale always did an excellent job.”
But, Westlake adds, one of the benefits of the program is it takes that burden off the coaches and other staff.
“It allows coaches to worry about coaching, administrators to run the event and even Mom and Dad to just sit back and enjoy the game,” he said.
Shasta football coach JC Hunsaker says the Maxim presence takes a “whole lot of stress off me on Friday and throughout the week.”
“You honestly can’t put a value on what he does day-to-day for the program and more importantly the athlete,” Hunsaker says. “He’s a huge part of our program and the success of our program.”
The program is funded through the Shasta and Enterprise booster clubs and the district pays a stipend as it recognizes the Maxim staff is giving up clinic time to be at the schools.
“I know he’s not getting rich off us,” Hunsaker joked. “Fortunately for the athletes, we do enough (financially).”
The economic trade-off isn’t equal, but Westlake dismisses that, saying “the important part is the service we can provide and our ability to get high school athletes back on the field.”
After all, both Westlake and Tomasin had next-level caliber athletes of their own come through the schools and benefit from the programs their fathers shepherded. Aaron Westlake was a standout baseball player at Shasta and Vanderbilt University and played several years of minor league baseball. His sister, Marissa, was a track and field athlete at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Stephen Tomasin is a member of the USA Rugby Sevens team. Nick and Mikaela Santos were each standout high school athletes, as well.
“Doing this is a family venture,” Steve Westlake says, adding that being in the gym so much led to his kids being around athletes and athletics and helped with their success.
On fall Friday nights, Westlake is a fixture at Shasta football games, while Tomasin mans things for the cross-town Hornets. During the winter, Harlan Carter gym
becomes a home away from home for Westlake, so much so
that he can often be found eating dinner that his wife, Deanna, brings to the gym.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do all this without her support,” he says. “She’s a wonderful nurse and a tremendous supporter of what we do.”
And when athletes get injured?
The game-day trainers assess, treat and work to get the athlete back on the field. Should the severity keep them from returning that day, Maxim has a program where they can head to theclinic and get care.
“If it requires something further, we have a great relationship with many of
the great physicians in the community,” he says, adding that they work to get the athlete seen quickly. “They understand the importance of getting them seen in a timely fashion.”
Hunsaker said he relies on Westlake and the Maxim staff and that the athlete’s well-being is always paramount.
“When a player is hurt, he’s a non-factor for us until he’s assessed by Steve and his team,” Hunsaker says. “He’s proactive in communicating with me and takes away that part for us.”
And the success for Westlake, Tomasin and the Maxim crew is hanging on the walls of their Court Street office, as photos, jerseys and other mementos dot the walls.
“That the real reward,” Westlake says, “making an impact and getting that athlete back out to do something
they love.” •
Redding Office - 2321 Court Street • (530) 242-8480
Palo Cedro Office - 9461 Deschutes Road • (530) 547-5478