Sanford POWER is not a single, one-size-fits-all program. Instead, we customize it for each athlete’s unique needs and goals. Our goal is to provide athletes of all ages with the training tools they need to ensure great results and reduce injuries.
Has POWER helped you achieve your goals? Tell us your story here.
Ben Berg: Leaving a legacy
If one athlete could represent what the Sanford POWER program is all about, it would be Ben Berg. At least that’s how the program’s Bismarck manager Mike Salwei sees it.
“Our goal is to help kids develop positivity, perseverance and discipline – we want to build great people – not just great athletes,” Salwei said. “We want to develop kids just like Ben Berg.”
Salwei was first introduced to Ben as a young baseball player who participated in the Sanford POWER Baseball Academy in Bismarck, a camp held for three months in the winter to help young athletes improve their baseball mechanics and hitting. He eventually began training with Salwei at Sanford POWER on a more regular basis.
“Ben was very dedicated and always consistent with his training,” Salwei recalled. “But it was his attitude that resonated with so many of us. Ben was always positive and always had a smile on his face.”
Ben’s life outside of the training center wasn’t any different. He was wise and responsible beyond his years and above all, caring and generous toward his friends and family. His parents, James and Carrie Berg, said his work ethic and drive began at an early age.
“Since he was 12 years old, Ben had his own lawn mowing service and other part-time jobs,” Carrie said. “He saved all of his money from working and put it in a college education account.”
In the fall of 2016, Ben was ready to put his hard work and savings into action and started at Bismarck State College (BSC). With the help of Sanford POWER, he also received a scholarship to play baseball for the Mystics at BSC. But tragedy struck in October when Ben passed away suddenly while duck hunting near Arena Lake. James and Carrie made the choice to leave a positive and lasting memory to honor their son.
Ben’s family recently announced a $110,000 donation to the Sanford Health Foundation. Their generous donation will benefit the Sanford POWER Baseball Academy, which recently was renamed the Ben Berg Baseball Academy. In addition, a scholarship will be set up for children who need assistance paying for their Sanford POWER membership. The majority of this donation comes from Ben’s college savings.
“Ben loved sports and he had great coaches and trainers who helped shape him into the dedicated athlete he was,” James said. “Sanford POWER helped him play baseball better, but also taught
him incredible morals, ethics and financial responsibility. I know Ben would want his college savings to go towards helping young athletes achieve their athletic dreams.”
When Salwei learned of the Berg’s donation, he was filled with mixed emotions.
“I’m honored Ben’s family thought so much of us,” he said. “But it was extremely difficult, knowing the reason we received this amazing gift was because Ben was no longer with us.”
In the spirit of giving, the Berg’s donation will be matched 100 percent through the Sanford Health Foundation’s Builders of Excellence campaign, which matches endowment donations dollar-for-dollar. The Berg’s gift will now become $220,000 to support Sanford POWER.
“I am so proud of the impact our gym and our team had on Ben’s life, and this gift will allow a lot of kids to be impacted in the same way,” Salwei said. “Our program goes beyond just building
strong athletes. There is something special about this place, and the relationships and bonds created between the athletes who train here. Now every year, Ben will help athletes be a part of our
amazing program – and I am forever grateful.”
Peter Durand: From setback to comeback
It happened the first day of spring football practice last year. Peter Durand, freshman offensive lineman at Minnesota State University Moorhead, was going over plays with the rest of his team when he took a hit that changed everything.
“One of my teammates hit me low, and my knee just buckled under me,” he recalled. “I immediately knew something was wrong.”
Once Durand was off the field, he learned the unfortunate news from the orthopedics and sports medicine team at Sanford Health in Fargo. He had sustained not one, but two injuries to his knee – an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear and medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear.
The ACL is crucial for proper movement and connects the thighbone to the shinbone. It helps steady the knee, keep the knee from turning and keep the tibia from overextending itself. The MCL is a band of tissue that connects your thighbone to the bone of your lower leg on the inside of the knee. It helps keep the knee from bending inward.
“Once I heard what was wrong with my knee, I was a bit concerned about what that could mean for my future on the football field,” Durand said. “I knew it would take a lot of work to get back to being ready to play.”
After visiting with Dr. Matt Friederichs, orthopedic surgeon at Sanford, Durand was given a treatment plan for both injuries. First, the MCL tear needed to heal on its own, then the ACL tear would be repaired with surgery. In May 2016, Durand underwent surgery on his knee, and Dr. Friederichs repaired his ACL with no complications.
“The entire team at Sanford was great,” Durand said. “I was confident in the care I received and knew I was in great hands.”
After surgery, Durand began the second leg of his post-injury journey with Jason Burud, Physical Therapy Manager at Sanford POWER in Fargo. Burud drew upon his experience with professional, collegiate and recreational athletes to help Durand regain strength and flexibility.
“Jason was great to work with,” said Durand. “Because I was still with Sanford for my PT, I was able to have my follow-up appointments with Dr. Friederichs at the Athletic Training Room as MSUM. That was a nice convenience.”
Durand completed his physical therapy during the summer of 2016, but still needed additional work and time before being ready to compete with his fellow MSUM Dragons.
Twice a week for 10 weeks, Durand trained with Al Kraft, exercise physiologist, in Sanford POWER’s Return to Performance Training Program. Kraft specializes in rehabilitation, corrective exercise and performance enhancement and has helped athletes of all ages and abilities achieve their highest performance levels.
“Al was amazing,” Durand said. “I have other teammates who’ve suffered injuries, and I’ve suggested going to Sanford POWER. Al – and the rest of the team – will hold you accountable and push you to hit your goals in a healthy way.”
With help from numerous specialists and teams at Sanford, Durand was ready to get back in the game. He began off-season training this winter, and is ready to hit the field for spring football practice.
“I should be ready to take the field for regular season play beginning my third year,” Durand said. “I am grateful for the care I received from everyone at Sanford. They turned one bad moment on the field into a positive experience from start to finish.”\
Military Mom harnesses her POWER
Sara Hilmoe is no stranger to physical activity. As a senior master sergeant in the South Dakota Air National Guard, 114th Fighter Wing in Sioux Falls, she’s put in some miles since she joined 20 years ago.
“I used to enjoy running when I was younger, and then my interest seemed to switch to weights,” Hilmoe said. “But those healthy habits began to fade as life got busier. After the birth of my daughter, I began putting my needs on the back burner – like so many mothers do.”
Then Hilmoe read an article about Sanford POWER Runner’s Program and said she immediately knew she needed to give it a shot. That was the day she moved her life and needs to the front burner. Once a week, she and five or six other adults met at the Sanford Fieldhouse for an hour. Although the group ranged in their abilities, the program is designed to help any runner improve their strength and running economy, and prevent overuse injuries.
“After four weeks on the program, my boss asked if I wanted to go for a run,” Hilmoe recalled. “I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up. After about a mile, I noticed I was running at a quicker pace than normal, so I slowed to a walk for a bit. But, I was able to catch back up with my boss. I could already tell a difference.”
Hilmoe was hooked, and ready to raise the stakes – for a lifetime.
Hilmoe made a bigger investment in her health and began personal training sessions at Sanford POWER. She saw this as a great opportunity to be better prepared for a requirement as a guard member, and to improve her overall health for herself and her family.
“Each year, I am required to pass a fitness test,” she said. “Instead of maintaining an active lifestyle all year, many of us just show up and push for that one day. I wanted to do more than just check a box – this was a lifestyle change for me.”
Now Hilmoe meets one-on-one with Charley Smook, certified strength and conditioning specialist at Sanford POWER, two times each week. While she said it’s hard work, the results are worth it.
“Sara is one of my hardest, most dedicated athletes,” Smook said. “She comes to her lifting sessions twice a week with the best attitude a coach could ask for. She works her tail off and will do it without one word of complaint.”
“Charley has helped me enjoy both running and weight training,” Hilmoe said. “I feel stronger and I have muscles that are starting to show. In three months, I cut a minute and a half off my mile
run during my fitness test, which is huge.”
When Hilmoe is asked about the cost and if she can afford a personal trainer, her response is simple.
“I couldn’t afford NOT to go to Sanford POWER for personal training,” she said. “People are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on jeans or Starbucks, but can’t seem to justify investing in their long-term health. I will go to Charley as long as I can.”
And the benefits Hilmoe has gained extend way beyond her physical well-being.
“I want to be able to keep up with my 3-year-old daughter and set a good example for her,” Hilmoe said. “I’m taking precious time just for me, which is so important. I encourage anyone who’s looking for help getting fit to take a chance and give Sanford POWER a try.”
SSSI, heat chamber prepare triathlete for Kona Ironman
I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Kona Ironman World Championships in honor of the Edith Sanford Breast Foundation. I had watched the event numerous times on TV, witnessing athletes collapsing from the heat and humidity, or crawling over the finish line.
Being intimidated by the elements, I worked with Dr. Verle Valentine and Jason Dorman, lead exercise physiologist with Sanford Sports Science Institute, over the three-week period prior to the event. I trained the bike and the run in multiple sessions in the Sanford environmental chamber to help acclimatize to higher temperatures and high humidity.
Over the course of that training I could feel my body adapting to, and better tolerating, the heat and humidity. Jason increased temperature and humidity at each subsequent session, and monitored my performance with a heart rate monitor and by checking core temperature. He helped me assess how my body responds at different temperatures and humidity levels.
The sessions developed real changes in my ability to tolerate extreme weather and, more importantly, gave me great confidence that I would complete the event. On race day, the temperature hit 90 degrees, the sun pounded us, humidity was high and the trade winds were brutal. Despite mishaps on the bike, I finished the day with a reasonable time. Thrilled to be finished, I thank the Edith Sanford Breast Foundation for giving me the opportunity to raise money on their behalf and I thank Jason and the folks at the Sanford Sports Institute for getting my body in shape to compete.
Kim Patrick, Sioux Falls
Running back turns to SSSI to control late-game cramps
Myles Van Maanen is a senior at Rock Valley High School in Iowa, a standout athlete in football, track, and basketball for the Boyden Hull/Rock Valley Nighthawks. He is a multi-event state medalist in track and field and averaged more than 100 yards rushing and nearly two touchdowns per game this football season.
However, even star athletes sometimes face challenges that keep them from being their best. Leading up to his senior year, Myles had a history of painful, debilitating muscle cramps that often occurred during his football games.
“I had frequent muscle cramping in my quads and calves during football games,” Myles says. “Those cramps limited my playing time and my performance on the field.”
Going into his senior season, Myles did not want to be restricted in any way, so he and his family sought out a solution. They contacted the Sanford Sports Science Institute (SSSI), nationally recognized for their expertise in helping athletes overcome heat- and hydration-related issues.
Jason Dorman, SSSI operations manager, and Thayne Munce, PhD, associate director of SSSI, began an in-depth analysis of Myles. They performed sweat fluid and electrolyte loss testing to help pinpoint what could be causing Myles’ cramps.
“I ran and walked on the treadmill for 60 minutes in the temperature and humidity controlled environmental chamber,” Myles recalls. “The temperature was set at 95 degrees. They took samples of my sweat and recorded my fluid intake.”
Based on his results, Myles’ needed to tweak his diet and salt intake during the week, and especially before games. Jason provided some tips and suggestions on how to make those tweaks, and now Myles is a new player.
“Once I began eating differently, those cramps that would take me out of the game stopped almost immediately,” Myles says. “Jason continued to monitor me, and he adjusted my salt intake, hydration, and food intake to help me perform my best. I have been able to play entire games now – both offense and defense.”
Since working with SSSI, Myles has renewed confidence that he can keep his cramping under control by following Jason’s recommendations.
“It’s nice having everything mapped out for me,” Myles says. “Just being told what to do when, makes that part of game prep easy. I can go into games knowing I won’t cramp, and that gives me confidence to play full-out all the time.”
Myles is grateful to Jason and the entire SSSI and appreciates having such a high-caliber program so close by.
“This testing facility is state-of-the-art, but it’s the people at SSSI that truly make the program what it is,” Myles says. “At this point, I haven’t decided if I will play college football, but I’m happy to play as hard as I can and help my team as much as possible.”