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

‘d.'”

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.”