This month, Sport + Spine celebrates five years in its current space. To commemorate the occasion, get to know Sport + Spine founder, CEO and physical therapist Drew Dischinger.
Where he studied: Drew earned his Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Kansas and his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Creighton University. Drew’s many certifications include the Fellow of Applied Functional Science through the Gray Institute for Functional Transformation, Certified McKenzie Spine Specialist, Sole Support custom insole designer, Nike Golf Performance Specialist, and Functional Dry Needling certification.
How he decided to become a physical therapist: Until he was a sophomore in high school, Drew always wanted to become an architect — but he didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day. So when a physical therapist made a presentation to his class on career day, his interest was piqued. A year later, Drew found himself in physical therapy as a patient after major reconstructive knee surgery. “That was my first major exposure to physical therapy, and it’s always been what I’ve wanted to do. I’ve never wavered.”
What brought Drew to Kansas City: Originally from upstate New York, Drew and his family moved to the Midwest before he started college. Drew graduated high school as a first team All-American swimmer and was recruited as a member of the University of Kansas swim team. At KU, he achieved many accolades, including first team all Big 12, University school record holder and qualifier for the 2000 Olympic Trial. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he moved to Nebraska to study at Creighton, then relocated to Kansas City after graduation.
How he met his wife, Emily: “We joke that we were an arranged marriage,” Drew says. While visiting friends at a country club, Drew’s grandmother met Emily’s mom. When they realized the Creighton connection — one with a grandson and one with a daughter — the women decided to set Drew and Emily up. “I wasn’t going to call her, but I invited her to a Super Bowl party just to appease them.” Drew said she could bring a friend, and Emily’s friend came down with a 104 degree temperature that day. “For some reason, Emily still came,” Drew says. And the rest is history.
Dem Bones: Yes, “Dem Bones” was what Drew originally wanted to name Sport + Spine. One assignment for a physical therapy class was to create a business plan for their own practice, and Drew took the project seriously. He even created a 3D plan for the building and a five-year business plan — and he still has the original plan in his Sport + Spine office today. The original logo? A skeleton in mid-cartwheel. “Emily wouldn’t let me keep that,” he laughs.
Five years time: Sport + Spine first opened their doors near 87th and Metcalf in Overland Park, and relocated to their current location near 105th and Metcalf five years ago this month (November). “When we made the move, it was such a huge jump from 2,400 square feet to 7,400 square feet and our staff grew from three to 12 . . . we kept the phone number, but everything else changed,” he said. “It’s exciting to see where we were then and where we are now. Five years is a big number to hit and we’re excited about it.”
Outside Sport + Spine: Drew enjoys swimming, and now his daughters do too. “They’re not afraid of the water for sure!” He also likes gardening, golf and mountain biking, and likes picking up new hobbies when he can.
Family: Drew is married to Emily, and they have two daughters — Ella and Ivy — and two dogs.
Favorite Kansas City restaurant: It’s a tie — Drew loves Rye, Pot Pie and BRGR.
Favorite Kansas City coffee shop: Also a tie — Coffee Girls in Waldo and Hattie’s in Prairie Village. But no coffee for Drew; just chai tea. “I don’t really need more energy.”
TV favorites: “I am a superhero fanatic,” he says, and he loves Arrow, the Flash and Marvel shows. He and Emily also like Brooklyn 99, Blacklist and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Favorite teams to cheer for: Drew always cheers on the Royals and loves KU sports, Creighton basketball and the Buffalo Bills.
Books he loves: Most of Drew’s reading is with his daughters these days, so it’s 10 Little Dinosaurs and Nancy Drew at the Dischinger house.
Best part of his Sport + Spine job: “I enjoy learning from each and every patient that we get,” Drew says. “Everyone is unique, everyone has their own issues with pain and each person is a challenge. I enjoy the environment that we’ve built and I enjoy helping people get better. I enjoy how our staff works together. Sport + Spine has become exactly what I was hoping it would become when I was planning it.”