The Monday Memo
January 16, 2017 PITT DPT STUDENTS
Student: Christopher Drager, Class of 2019
Q: Hey Chris. Tell us a little bit about yourself to get started: Where did you grow up? Where and what did you study for your undergraduate education?
A: I grew up ten miles south of Pittsburgh in Jefferson Hills, PA. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School, I chose to attend Virginia Tech to play football and study Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise.
Q: What got you interested in the field of physical therapy?
A: I’ve participated in team sports my entire life. Competing with and against different players was the most exhilarating activity for me. During a 7th grade football game, I tore my ACL and was restricted from athletic participation for three years. That period really challenged me physically, mentally, and emotionally because I was unable to do what I loved the most. In order to return to sports and really gain a competitive edge, I began reading a lot about physical fitness and nutritional advice and it was that information that got me back on the playing fields and eventually earning a college scholarship. Now that my playing days are over, I chose to use the PT profession to help others break down barriers and accomplish their goals.
Q: What else are you involved in outside of school?
A: For the past six years, I have helped coach high school football at my alma mater, Thomas Jefferson High School.
Q: Awesome! Did you have a successful 2017 season?
A: Yes, we went 11-2 and defeated Montour at Heinz Field for the 4A WPIAL Championship, making it the third consecutive championship season.
Q: That’s amazing, Chris. Congratulations! What was your favorite memory from this past season?
A: By far, my favorite memory was destroying Belle Vernon in the WPIAL semifinals round. After losing to the Leopards in the regular season, we were afforded another opportunity to play them in the playoffs. After a great week of preparation, we held the Leps to one first down, beat them 27-0, and removed their hopes of playing at Heinz Field for the WPIAL title.
Q: What is your favorite thing about coaching a team of youth athletes?
A: I enjoy the camaraderie and competition. Coaching requires you to spend a lot of time with a lot of people. Working together and developing strategies and striving to excel for a cause that’s bigger than the individual…that’s what I enjoy the most.
Q: What are your career goals or next steps after your graduate?
A: Over the last few years, I haven’t had many quality options in terms of career choices. Ideally, after graduation I’d love to work as a physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach within the Navy athletics program, but now that the future is showing many different avenues and holds many quality opportunities, I’m just going to savor the moment and take one step at a time.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
A: I’m grateful Pitt afforded me an opportunity to pursue a new profession. Physical therapy school is giving me the skills to help others (and myself) perform better and be healthier. PT is a rewarding and potentially lucrative profession and I’m glad I’ve chosen to travel down this path!
Thanks again to Chris Drager!