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Wrestling Wonsettlers are now getting physical with therapy

By RICK SHRUM, (Washington) Observer-ReporterMay 26, 2019

SCENERY HILL, Pa. (AP) — Cliff Wonsettler had wrestled with the idea for a while.

“From the time I was in physical therapy school, I wanted to do something like this,” he said, relaxing for a few moments inside his own PT facility.

Wonsettler has been a physical therapist for more than a decade, mostly in the Seattle area. He became somewhat disillusioned in the Great Northwest, though, after working at a practice owned by a large company that, he believes, operated in an impersonal manner and compromised his ideal of a PT center.

“After three years, I told my wife that I couldn’t do this.”

So they relocated to his roots, to Washington County, where Wonsettler decided to “build a building we could grow into.” Two years later, Wonsettler Physical Therapy and Specialized Health is up and going.

Cliff and his youngest brother, Charlie, comprise the WPT staff, licensed physical therapists who began serving patients in early February. Cliff owns the business, which operates in a glistening two-story building about 100 yards off Route 40 in North Bethlehem Township. Wonsettler PT is on a flat stretch of the rolling Wonsettler farm - where they grew up.

Their father, Chuck, a retired Bentworth School District teacher, is a sixth-generation family farmer there. He raises beef cattle, sheep and pigs on the 154-acre spread, which has stretched to a seventh generation. Cliff, his wife and their two sons live in a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor of the PT building, which has 5,000 square feet.

“I have a pretty short commute to work,” Cliff said, beaming.

So does Charlie, who is engaged to be married in 2020. He resides in the family’s farmhouse.

The term “physical” has been a substantial element in the siblings’ lives. Cliff (class of 2000), C.J. (2002) and Charlie (2007) were outstanding wrestlers at Bentworth, where all topped the milestone of 100 victories and were PIAA tournament qualifiers. C.J., the only state champion among them, wrestled at Penn State with Cliff, while Charlie competed at Bucknell University.

C.J., or Christopher, is in the military as his brothers are providing services of a different sort. Cliff and Charlie attended graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, became PTs and practiced out of state for a while. Charlie was a Montana resident for a time, but now is back home with Cliff, working at the center while also handling inpatient rehabilitation assignments in Morgantown, W.Va.

Their facility has a postal address of Scenery Hill, and while it isn’t in close proximity of the Century Inn, the center offers a fabulous panorama. You can see for miles and miles. The location was intentional.

“A lot of (PT) places are so small and sterile, you don’t feel welcome,” Cliff said. “We wanted a place that is welcoming and comfortable, where you feel everything is working for you. A view like this helps.

“We also want to offer more of a fitness component. A lot of physical therapy is reactive. We want to help people who are dealing with something, but we want to offer something that’s preventative.”

Although he was turned off by the corporate mindset in a previous job, Cliff admitted, “I can see why a big company wants a physical therapy facility to see 20 to 30 people a day.” But he pledges that will not happen on the Wonsettler property.

“We want to see eight patients a day,” he said. “What we lack in dollar amount, we make up with quality treatment.”

The brothers’ corporate plan includes a short-term strategy - adding a staffer to handle the front desk - and to have five therapists on board within five years.

Wonsettler Physical Therapy, appropriately on Wonsettler Road, is open weekdays only - at least for now. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; noon to 7 p.m. Thursday; and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.

Although both have been out of high school for more than a decade, Charlie and Cliff look as if they could take a brawny opponent to the mat today. Both are trim and well-muscled. Having exercise machinery in their workplace should keep them fit.

“Part of this is it gives us a place to work out, too,” Cliff said. “We have to practice what we preach.”

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Online:

https://bit.ly/2HCYd15

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Information from: Observer-Reporter, http://www.observer-reporter.com

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