Degree Opens Doors for Physical Therapist Monroe County

Connections in Monroe County

Data Source: University of Wisconsin Service Center

Bob Weidl ’85 is a physical therapist in a community near where he grew up. His work has a special challenge.

“Most of the people who come into my clinic I’ve known for years — aunts, uncles, friends,” says Wiedl, owner of the Innovations Rehabilitation clinic in Sparta, Wisconsin. “And that adds to the expectations, too. If you know somebody and have a rapport, you have to perform. There’s no hiding.”

Wiedl grew up on a dairy farm in nearby Norwalk, but he wasn’t interested in farming. Instead, he followed the lead of two aunts who were longtime nurses at the Sparta hospital, pursued a healthcare career, and earned a physical therapy degree from UW–Madison in 1985.

“My UW–Madison education taught me that there is more to life than just you,” Wiedl says. “Thinking big and outside of the box was part of it. The university gave me the confidence to think ahead and make my dreams come true.”

My UW–Madison education taught me that there is more to life than just you. The university gave me the confidence to think ahead and make my dreams come true.

After graduation, Wiedl discovered other benefits to his degree. “Just having UW–Madison on your diploma opened doors. It’s so well regarded everywhere,” he says.

His physical therapy instructors had told him that 85 percent of new physical therapists wound up in a supervisory role within a year. That turned out to be true for Wiedl, whose first job was as a rehabilitation aide at the former St. Francis Medical Center in La Crosse. A year later, he was rehabilitation director at St. Francis.

After several years there, Wiedl co-founded Innovations Rehabilitation in 1994, and today, he is the sole owner. Running the clinic and helping his neighbors overcome physical problems gives him a deep satisfaction.

“When somebody comes to you who is in pain or who can’t do something, being able to take away that pain or teach them to do the things they enjoy again is the most rewarding part of my job,” he says.