Matt Durrstein takes over at Westby schools



Matt Durrstein takes over at Westby schools

Durrstein grew up on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin, just outside of a small town called South Wayne

The Westby Area School District has a new athletic trainer provided through Vernon Memorial Healthcare in Viroqua. Matt Durrstein replaced longtime athletic trainer, Scott McNeil, who recently moved back to Germany.

Durrstein grew up on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin, just outside of a small town called South Wayne, where he attended Black Hawk High School. After graduation his career path was wide open and with a love for people, sports and medicine he settled in at UW-Stevens Point where he received his Bachelor’s degree in 2012 as an athletic trainer.

Since earning his degree as an athletic trainer Durrstein has worked with numerous school districts in Central Wisconsin. While at Marshfield Clinic he split his time working with four school districts, Granton, Greenwood, Loyal and Spencer). Then in 2014, Durrstein transferred to Wisconsin Rapids and oversaw the athletic training duties at four other high schools, Assumption Catholic, Lincoln, Nekoosa and Port Edwards.

“There was a lot of traveling back and forth and its really nice to just be working with Westby now,” Durrstein said.

His active job left him little time for anything else. So when his parents, Gregg and Debbie Durrstein, moved to a small farm near Prairie du Chien, he began searching for a new position closer to the vicinity of his family. McNeil’s departure opened the door for Durrstein’s to move to western Wisconsin. He was hired by VMH over the summer, a move that brought him within 45 miles of his family.

“Everyone has been very welcoming to me, and I really appreciate it. I can tell that VMH cares deeply about the community and the families that make it up and I’m very happy to be a part of that kind of health care philosophy,” Durrstein said in an article published in the VMH monthly Spotlight newsletter.

Durrstein loves western Wisconsin and in his downtime, he enjoys farming with his father and paddle boarding on the backwaters of the Mississippi River, single track mountain biking and cooking for family and friends. He is actively looking for a new place closer to Westby and Viroqua, which will shorten his commute to and from work and provide more space for his dog and two cats, Manny, Big Gary and Tiger Bay.

Durrstein is hoping people have patience with him as he learns the names and faces of the students and staff that he will be working with at Westby schools. He got a taste of the action in the season football opener at Whitehall on Aug. 21, after two players went down with injuries. During his own high school career he played football and was a wrestler so his heart goes out to athletes when injuries happen that sideline them for weeks, months or even longer.

“By far I would say ankle and knee sprains are the most common high school injuries, but that varies with every sport,” Durrstein said.

Durrstein enjoys the challenges associated with being an athletic trainer.

“Injuries are like big jigsaw puzzles and you need to figure where the pieces fit. You always have to be on your toes, because you never know what you’re going to be faced with from day to day. You could have a sprained wrist to mend one day and ruptured spleen the next,” Durrstein said.

For Durrstein though the most rewarding part of the job is the process of helping injured athletes return to play safely and back to the sports they love.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the Westby School District this upcoming school year. I hope to foster some wonderful relationships within the community for many years to come,” Durrstein said.