Pine-Richland lineman headed to Waynesburg
As an offensive lineman for Pine-Richland, Mike Keefer said he spent his fair share of time working with athletic trainers. His play on the field, coupled with his interest in helping athletes stay well, led him to Waynesburg University.
Keefer will play football and study to be a physical therapist or athletic trainer when he graduates.
“The coach, Rick Shepas, at Waynesburg said they offer an athletic training program that I can do and then go into physical therapy,” Keefer said. “They also have a high percentage of job placements upon graduation.”
Keefer said helping people is something he enjoys, and with his choice of major, the chance to play football and getting to do the things he wants to do in the environment he wants to be in was too good to pass up.
“I work better in a smaller crowd,” he said. “The campus is about 1,200 kids, and an average of 15-18 kids per class will give me more one-on-one time with the teachers. The teachers actually get to know your name, and you are not treated like a number.”
Keefer said, according to the other players, the coach is supportive of the players and is there to help them on and off the field.
“They make sure you are doing your class work,” Keefer said. “They are not just there for a paycheck.”
Keefer was an offensive tackle for the Rams, but said he is not sure where he will lineup at Waynesburg.
“They will probably know better (when I get there),” Keefer said. “I am just relieved to have the decision made. It's a big decision, and it fit me.”
Keefer said he sat down with his parents, and they took football out of the equation to help the decision-making process.
He is happy to have the chance to keep playing and said former Rams coach Clair Altemus and current coach Eric Kasperowicz helped shape him as a player and person.
“Coach Altemus is so inspirational and was always there for me … he helped us all out,” Keefer said. “I think coach Kasperowicz could coach at the next level. They prepared me.
“They taught me the value of bonding with a team and how to keep it a brotherhood. You don't want to be left out, because you could miss a lot.”
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.