Physical Therapists and Staff
Mike Koch | PT, OWNER
Michael graduated from Marquette University in 1991. He has a BS degree in biology and a BS degree in Physical Therapy. He has practiced as an out-patient physical therapist for the past 27 years. He has had the opportunity to work with pro sports athletes with the Milwaukee Brewers as well as college and high school athletes in Milwaukee, Oshkosh, New London and most recently, Waupaca for the past 13 years.
Michael has a specialty in the manual treatment of the spine, as it relates to neck and back pain. He has extensive training in the Osteopathic approach to evaluating and treating the spine through Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. This approach looks at the entire person to come up with the source of their pain. Using manual therapy techniques such as muscle energy, myofascial release, massage and joint mobilizations he will treat those restricted regions first. By treating the area of greatest restriction first, the patient gets better, faster, because you are reaching the cause of their problem, instead of chasing the pain around the body. He follows a similar treatment method in treating the athlete. Finding the source of the athletes problem is the challenge. The area of the pain may not be where the main issue is. He also has extensive training in how to teach appropriate exercise and stretching techniques to keep those areas of weakness and restrictions mobilized or stabilized.
Cranial-sacral techniques are another of Michael's manual skills that allow him to enjoy the treatment of difficult diagnosis such as fibromyalgia, migraine headaches of the muscular nature, and head and face pain such as temporal mandibular disorders.
Michael has a special interest in the treatment of the injured worker. He is certified through the DSI Work Solutions method of job evaluation and classification. He is a consultant for the Stretch It Out program for industrial injury prevention and intervention. He is certified in ergonomics through the Back School of Atlanta . He has worked closely with Sarah Lee (Hillshire Farms) in New London to develop a stretching program for their workers. Most recently he has been working extensively with the Waupaca Foundry in creating Job Descriptions but more importantly, their pre-work stretching program, and early intervention program. The early intervention program involves on-site consultation of the employee at their work station and specific stretching advice and ergonomic suggestions provided to minimize injury. By working so closely with the local industry, it is much easier to properly rehab an injury and understand their specific job demands.
Continuing education has always been a priority for Michael. His focus over the past 27 years has primarily been on hands-on techniques for treatment of the body. He has also had extensive training in the rehabilitation of the athlete.Including training in Dry Needling of chronic muscular trigger points. The use of dry needling has been a huge help in resolving chronic pain issues. Dry needling has provided Mike a way to treat those chronic trigger points that have not responded to the traditional techniques. Dry needling has been very successful in treating the sport injuries as well. It is amazing how well it works on the strained muscles, allowing athletes to get back to their sport quickly.
Elizabeth Gross | DPT
Elizabeth Gross, DPT joined the staff of Spine and Sport Physical Therapy of Waupaca in June of 2012. In May of 2012, she graduated from Carroll University in Waukesha, WI with a doctorate of physical therapy. She also completed her undergraduate at Carroll, receiving her bachelor of science in exercise science with a minor in psychology in 2010. The great job opportunity with Spine and Sport Physical Therapy of Waupaca brought her to Waupaca. “Since staring my career in Waupaca, I have learned so much from co-workers and patients. I strive to treat each patient as a whole person, not just their diagnosis. Treating a patient holistically is very important to me. I look forward to coming to work because I am passionate about my job and dedicated to the well-being of my patients.”
Liz has great interest in sports and sports rehabilitation. She grew up playing soccer; her love of the game started at the age of five and extended into her adult years. She played in high school and club leagues throughout her younger years and played for the Carroll University Women’s soccer team from 2006-2010. Currently, Liz has been focused on running. She always makes sure to train for the Cellcom Half-Marathon in Green Bay, WI – why? Because you get to run through Lambeau Field! Go Pack Go! Her experience with sports has developed her interest in the human body and has taught her how commitment can yield great results. She learned what is necessary for an athlete to rehabilitate from an injury and now applies that knowledge to all individuals regardless of their background.
Since starting her career as a physical therapist, Liz has had the opportunity to attend continuing education courses to further her knowledge and skills. She is trained in work site analysis and job function analysis and testing which helps her evaluate and treat the injured worker. She has attended Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine to further develop her skills in manual therapy. With this training, she uses a more hands-on approach to address a patient's condition and impairments, especially dysfunctions in the spine and lower extremities. In addition, she has training in treating Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) using manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, and lifestyle changes to reduce jaw pain and increase jaw range of motion. Her most recent certification is in trigger point dry needling which she finds very effective in treating myofascial trigger points.
Kelsey Abendroth | DPT
Kelsey joined the team at Spine and Sport Physical Therapy of Waupaca in November of 2021. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Sports Nutrition from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 2015. She continued her education at Carroll and eared her doctorate degree in 2017 in Physical Therapy. She was a member of the softball team at Carroll. Kelsey grew up in Hortonville and now lives Fremont. In her free time Kelsey enjoys spending time with her family, enjoying the outdoors, camping, fishing, hunting and watching sporting events.
Kelsey believes in helping patient's get back to living the life they love and functioning without pain. She has experience working in outpatient, inpatient, and pediatric physical therapy. As a former athlete, Kelsey especially enjoys treating athletes, and younger kids. Kelsey has completed training with the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association for manual based physical therapy. She is looking forward to expanding her knowledge and expanding her manual therapy skill set here at Spine and Sport.
Nikki Galante| Physical Therapist Assistant
Nikki joined the staff of Spine and Sport Physical Therapy of Waupaca in 2013. Nikki graduated from Suomi College in Hancock, MI in 2000, and has spent the last 22 years working in both Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Nikki has worked in diverse settings in physical therapy, including inpatient, home health, sports medicine, wound care and outpatient physical therapy.
Nikki loves people and her patients, as an assistant she is always looking for ways to help her patients as well as the therapists in anyway. She has focused her continuing education on manual therapy, postural restoration and treatment of the nerve related injuries. This includes training in Graded Motor Imagery which incorporates Mirror therapy, which is as a way to address chronic pain, specifically CRPS. Nikki’s philosophy on physical therapy is that it is the clinician’s job to assist the patient to attain and maintain their optimal function.
Deb Jalling | Athletic Trainer
Deb Jalling, LAT joined the staff of Spine and Sport Physical Therapy in 2013. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science and a Major in Athletic Training. Deb has experience with working with Emergency Medicine, Prevention of Care and Rehabilitative Services in her experiences with collegiate athletes from UW-Oshkosh along with Lawrence University and various high schools. She has spent the last 4 years working in a Secondary Education environment at Hortonville High School as the Head Athletic Trainer, along with teaching various exercise classes to include being a Certified Pilates Instructor and a Certified Silver Sneakers Instructor. She has experience with program design and strength and conditioning training for numerous sports to include, basketball, volleyball and her favorite soccer.
Deb has joined the Spine & Sport Physical Therapy team as the Industrial Medicine Representative to Waupaca Foundry (Plants 1,2 and 3), along with patient care in our Spine & Sport Physical Therapy Clinic. “I’m excited to be given the opportunity many Licensed Athletic Trainers hope for and that is to provide diverse care and to broaden the scope and recognition of my profession,” states Deb.
Alisha Wiskirchen | Licensed Massage Therapist
Alisha joined the staff of Spine and Sport Physical Therapy of Waupaca in 2013. Alisha graduated from Waupaca High School in 2006, and graduated with honors from the Globe University Massage Program with over 1200 hours in course work. Alisha trained in many different types of techniques, but is passionate about Condition-Specific Massage. “When a client comes in with a specific complaint I like to use that time with them to work on those areas. Every person is different, and it keeps my mind thinking of what the best treatment is going to be for that client. I also want people to recognize that massage isn’t just for special occasions when we want to treat ourselves. We use our muscles every day and it’s important to keep them in pristine condition so that we don’t have to deal with pain and fatigue down the road.” Spine and Sport Physical Therapy has been a natural fit for Alisha because she gets to help patients with an even balance of therapeutic and relaxation massages.
Chelsea McKeen | Licensed Massage Therapist
Chelsea joined the staff of Spine and Sport Physical Therapy of Waupaca in November 2021. Chelsea graduated from SPASH in 2007. She worked as a certified nursing assistant until decided to go to massage school at Fox Valley Technical College, graduating in 2015. She has been working for the last seven years and has trained in different modalities such as relaxation, deep tissue, hot stone and prenatal massage as well as cupping.
Chelsea feels that, "From our hectic lifestyles to the forever changing Covid-19 protocols, I am a firm believer in self-care. Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety, depression and stress, improve concentration and energy, minimize frustration and anger, increase happiness and more."
Stephanie Eich | Office Manager
Stephanie has worked for Spine and Sport Physical Therapy since 2009. Stephanie handles all you insurance and billing questions or concerns. She also makes sure the daily clinic operation runs smoothly. You might also see her on the weekends at the Wheelhouse Restaruant as your favorite waitress. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, curling, golfing and socializing with her friends.
Lori Bodoh | Front Desk
Lori is our small town Weyauwega girl who will greet you at the front desk with a friendly smile! Lori’s job here at SSPT is in part to help you go through your paperwork, gather some information from you , and schedule your therapy appointments. Lori loves people, and will do anything she can to make you feel welcomed and comfortable at our clinic.
Lori has worked in the medical field for 12 years now, and has been with SSPT since it opened in 2008. She loves her job and is proud to have helped owner Mike Koch build his dream.
In her free time, Lori loves to spend time with her husband Ben, their five daughters, and their grandchildren. They enjoy local, small town life, bow hunting, fishing, cooking, and escaping to their cabin in Wabeno on weekends.
Mandy Duberstein | Front Desk
Mandy is a Waupaca Native that joined out SSPT family in 2017. Mandy has worked in customer service for the last seven years. She enjoys assisting the patients and staff, and looks for ways to make their days brighter. Mandy likes the Waupaca community and enjoys spending time with her husband and their puppies, as well as hiking and crafting.