Massage therapist works on Bucks, Brewers
MILWAUKEE — Jerome Davre is a walking, talking (English, with
a charming French accent) Wide World of Sports. He is in his first season as
the Milwaukee Bucks massage therapist and has worked with the Brewers since
2009. He’s had a client from the Denver Broncos and has given massages at 2
a.m. in the middle of the 24 hours of Daytona endurance race, where he’s worked
with Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Davre decided on a career in massage therapy when he deemed his
participatory sport of choice wasn’t doing enough to ease the aches and pains
of training and competing.
“As a speedskater, I saw we were lacking in good treatment,” said
Davre, who pronounces his surname, “like the Packer quarterback but with a
Davre, who was born outside of Paris, was a member of the French national
speedskating team for 10 years. He met Angela Zuckerman, a former US Olympic
speedskater at an international event in Norway. The couple married 20 years
ago and settled in Whitefish Bay, Wis., where they now live with their
15-year-old son, Benjamin, and 13-year old daughter, Camille.
Davre received his massage therapist license in 1993. Part of his course
requirement was doing free massages, so he worked on speedskaters who were
training at the Pettit Center.
“It was a very smooth transition for me from basically retiring from speedskating
to massage,” Davre said. “I was still with the speedskaters. It
helped me retire from competition because it is very difficult to be involved
in one thing for such a long time and then say, ‘OK, that’s it.'”
Davre opened his business, Body Wise, in Wauwatosa, Wis., in 1995. In 2009,
the Brewers had an opening for a massage therapist and invited Davre to audition
for the position. He immediately hit it off with head trainer Roger Caplinger
and iconic closer Trevor Hoffman and landed the job permanently.
Davre works every home game at Miller Park and works home and away contests
for the Bucks in addition to practices.
“It’s virtually every day,” Davre said of his Bucks schedule.
“Sometimes for six straight hours.”
A sports massage is not like the rubdown you’d get at a pricey spa. It is a
far more physical experience for the client and the therapist.
“A good quality massage is going to take a lot from the
therapist,” Davre said. “You have to apply pressure. You have to
manipulate the muscle. It takes some strength to do a good quality massage, and
it’s not easy. Especially when you work on big people.”
Effective massage can maintain an athlete’s fitness level, help with muscle
recovery time and increase potential workload during training. Davre, who
competed at a high level on the ice, knows all about bouncing back from nagging
aches and pains.
“I think I can relate a bit more to these guys because I myself used to
work out twice a day,” he said. “I had my share of injuries as a
skater. When someone comes to me and says ‘I have this’ or ‘I have that,’ I
think I relate better because of my past, and I know what it takes to try and
do the best.”
Massage is becoming an increasingly important feature in the intricate care
regimen of professional sports. When the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant suffered a
concussion in last Sunday’s All-Star Game, he returned to action Wednesday in
Los Angeles and received several massages on the bench during the game from the
team’s therapist to help him stay court ready.
“You need a staff of people who are sharp; we are all very
important,” Davre said. “A massage therapist doesn’t diagnose the
problem. That’s what athletic trainers do. But it all works together.”
Davre still occasionally skates at the Pettit Center and says hitting the
ice brings back good memories and makes him feel good. But his main focus these
days is helping the Bucks perform better on the hardwood.
“It’s an honor to work with the Bucks,” he said. “It’s an
honor to work with the Brewers. And I do all I can to help the team. You want
to help the team and you want to help the athletes. Because of what I’m doing,
I prolong their careers, and that helps the team.”
Davre says he fits in well with the Bucks’ multi-national roster and enjoys
having conversations in French with forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
“When you work with a team, you see these guys so many times,”
Davre said. “You’re going to have a friendship going. It’s just the nature
of the business. It’s rewarding in that they like the quality of my work. But
they also like you as a friend and that’s nice.”