Two students selected for inaugural scholarship |

Two students selected for inaugural scholarship

Submitted by Lisa Cilva Ward

Park City Heiden Orthopaedics is pleased to announce the selection of two recipients of the first annual "Heiden Orthopaedics Sport and Health Science Scholarship."

Park City High School seniors Matthew Wolbach and Samantha Crouch were each selected to receive the scholarship, which includes $500 towards college tuition, as well as an experiential component — accompanying five-time Olympic gold medalist and orthopedic surgeon Eric Heiden, in his role as team physician for the U.S. Speedskating team, to the Speedskating World Cup at the Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah in December.

Although the scholarship was designed to honor one student, Heiden Orthopaedics’ three specialists — Dr. Eric Heiden, Dr. Karen Heiden and Dr. Phil Davidson — were so impressed by the caliber of the applicants that they chose to honor two students this year.

"It is encouraging to see the quality of students coming out of the Park City school system," said Dr. Karen Heiden. "I was impressed with the high level of achievement and early career focus in such young individuals. It is clear that Samantha and Matthew will achieve great things, and the scholarship will help open doors towards their careers in sports medicine."

Applicants were asked to demonstrate an interest in studying orthopedic or sports medicine, and write an essay addressing one of two topics: the effect of an active lifestyle on health, or the implications of preventive health care on one’s own health as well as the current debate on a national health care plan.

Scholarship recipient Matthew Wolbach is a USA luge team athlete with a keen interest in physical therapy. "I have always been active and involved in sports," he said. "I became interested in medicine a couple of years ago when the luge athletic trainer talked to me about going into medicine. He inspired me because of the way he worked and how he was able to help everyone around him. I also enjoy helping anyone no matter what the problem is."

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Matthew studies exercise science, anatomy and medical terminology and is currently pursuing his emergency medical technician certification through Utah Valley University. He is a member of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), a high school student organization that addresses promotion of career opportunities in health care and enhances the delivery of quality health care to all people. He plans to attend the University of Utah to study exercise physiology. "I really feel like I want to help people in the rehabilitation process," he said.

Scholarship recipient Samantha Crouch is a lifelong athlete who has adeptly balanced her commitment to education and sport throughout her life. She’s been active in soccer, tennis and swimming, but it is as a golf athlete that she particularly shines. However, wrist and back injuries caused her to withdraw from competition just as she became the only girl to make the high school boys’ golf team in Park City. After months of tests, scans, treatments and other unsuccessful therapies, a sports medicine physician was able to apply specific sport science remedies and treatments to heal her injuries. "My pain decreased to the point where I could barely notice it, and I was finally able to play golf competitively again," she said.

As a result of the experience, Samantha became interested in medicine, and sports medicine in particular. "My interest in sports, competition, physical fitness and health have led me to believe that treating athletes as well as those who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle would be a rewarding and challenging profession," she said. Samantha, also active in the HOSA club, is currently shadowing an emergency room physician with a hope of becoming a sports medicine physician in the future. While still a student at Park City High School, she is already taking classes at the University of Utah in preparation for her future medical career.

Dr. Eric Heiden is looking forward to spending the day with the winners at the World Cup races. "I was very surprised with the amount of interest in our scholarship and very impressed with the applicants themselves," he said. "Their responses to our essay question revealed a strong interest and knowledge in medicine and preventative health care."

Both scholarship recipients will attend the Long Track Speed Skating World Cup with Dr. Eric Heiden Dec. 11-13 at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns. They will have a hands-on opportunity to experience sports medicine with elite athletes at the height of competition. The event is the final speedskating World Cup competition before the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in February.

Heiden Orthopaedics is a Park City-based orthopedic specialty practice focused on sports medicine, knee, shoulder, hand and upper extremity orthopedic medicine, cartilage restoration and joint resurfacing. For more information, contact Lisa Cilva Ward at (435) 645-7206 or .