ILWACO - Jarrod Karnofski suffered a football injury his senior year at Ilwaco High School that changed his life. The 1998 graduate was hit in a game and the blow caused a pinched nerve in his neck. Fortunately after three weeks of rehabilitation the temporary paralysis in his left arm went away.
The life-changing aspect of his injury was that while being treated at Ocean Beach Physical Therapy Services (OBPTS) in Ilwaco, Karnofski decided to become a physical therapist himself. Karnofski was able to play basketball and baseball his senior year after the rehab and then went to Pacific University in Cottage Grove, Ore.
Karnofski earned a degree in sports medicine and athletic training in 2002, graduating with distinction, and became a certified athletic trainer. He volunteered at the college and at Skyview and Hudson Bay high schools while completing his education and also found time to play some varsity baseball.
After graduation from college he earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist. While getting his advanced degree, Karnofski worked part-time for Rebound Clinic based in the Rose Garden in Portland and in Vancouver.
Karnofski has decided to return to Ilwaco, where he was born and raised, and has been employed at OBPTS for about two months."I wanted to give something back to the community that was so supportive to me when I was growing up," Karnofski said."Victoria Vestal and Greg Pick (therapists at OBPTS) are great mentors for me."
Karnofski is already volunteering at Ilwaco High School and last week, immediately following a rigorous day at OBPTS, he zipped over to Camp Rilea where he not only looked after Fishermen injuries at the football camp they were attending, but also helped players from the other 11 schools as well.
"I see myself as a go-between from the athletes and the doctors," Karnofski explains. He plans on helping IHS sports teams and athletes. Karnofski's goal is to help the athletes get back into action as soon as they can, but if their injury is more serious he wants to insure that they get the help they need as soon as possible.
"The doctors here give as good of care as people would get anywhere," Karnofski said.
Jarrod still finds time to play slow-pitch softball and basketball at open gym. His other passion is playing bass guitar. He and wife Carole are currently living in Ilwaco and are considering purchasing a home in the area. Carole is employed in Warrenton, her hometown, as a dance instructor.
"I plan on being a "lifer" here on the Peninsula," Karnofski explains. "I would like to remain at OBPTS and continue to help high school sports teams as a volunteer."
He concludes by saying, "If you are hurting, whether you are an athlete or not, come see us."