CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Seth Babington, the owner of Clarion Rehabilitation Services, is a local-boy-makes-good story because of a simple twist of fate.
Article by Ron Wilshire
“My parents were from the Akron-Canton Ohio area and, to make a long story short, my dad was working a bunch of jobs, was getting burned out, was not taking care of himself, but they liked to camp,” said Babington.
His parents bought Deer Meadow Campground in Cook Forest to get away before Seth was born.
“I was born into campground life, and was born and raised in Cook Forest,” continued Babington. “My parents sold that campground, but we still lived on the periphery of the campground. I went to Saint Mike’s for elementary and then North Clarion.”
“I’m a local kid.”
After he graduated from North Clarion, he spent his freshman year at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and studied sports management and got an inkling of where his career might lead him.
“I realized real quick that although I loved sports teams and I loved the management side of it, I was sort of a ‘nine to fiver,’ and I wanted to be more of a helpful professional,” said Babington.
“It didn’t take long to see that all of these sporting events started at two, three in the afternoon and went till 11 o’clock or midnight every day of the week, including weekends.”
Babington wanted to be a family person and started to explore his options and found that physical therapy (PT) was something that could use his skill set.
Seth was interested in PT and loved the fact that there was job availability and job security, not only locally but anywhere in the whole country. At that point of time in the mid-90s, if you had a PT degree, you could work anywhere.
Clarion Rehab: A team effort
“You could work as much or as little as you wanted. I liked that part and just the fact that you were getting paid to help someone almost didn’t seem right.”
After his freshman year at Robert Morris, he transferred to Slippery Rock and earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 1995.
The next step in his professional career took Babington to Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia from 1995 to 1997 for a master’s degree in physical therapy.
Armed with the necessary credentials to help people with PT, he broadened his experience working at the renowned Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
“Cleveland Clinic provides world-class care,” Babington said. “Not many places can state that claim, and it is true. I wouldn’t pick any other place to start my career. The three-plus years I had at Cleveland jump-started my career and put me on such a platform where there was nothing I didn’t see.
“I could come home to Clarion or anywhere else and feel confident enough that I could assess a problem and treat it or review resources to learn more about it to make sure we did a good job.”
Babington came back home on April 10, 2001, and says he’s been thrilled to return.
“I expected to come home and maybe not be challenged or maybe not be rewarded professionally and it’s been anything but the opposite of that. I went back to Wheeling Jesuit and got my doctorate in physical therapy. So, as I worked here at Clarion Rehab, I went back and got my doctorate and went from being the director of physical therapy to owning Clarion Rehab.”
Luther Barnett was the owner of Clarion Rehab and the arrangement was that Babington would run it.
“He got to the point where he wanted to retire and I wanted to own it, so I purchased it from him in 2017.”
Loves working with people
“I love working with people, so I still throw myself into the weekend rotations because we contract with Clarion Hospital. We have to be at the hospital 365 days a year. I love coming in because it’s just physical therapy, and I enjoy that so much. It’s a great profession, and it’s really rewarding, both intrinsically and intrinsically.
PT is usually tiered, based on the severity and degree, and the timeframe of the injury.
“We get them over the immediate injury or occurrence and then have short-term goals and then long-term goals.”
“We just had a guy who came in here for a shoulder injury, and we’re fixing his shoulder and by the way, we introduced him to our Exercise Institute and now he’s going to start exercising on a routine basis. Not only can we fix his shoulder, but we can hopefully get him steered in the right direction to live a better life in terms of his health.”
The Exercise Institute is another addition to Clarion Rehab.
“In the last two years, we’ve renovated, we’ve knocked out a wall. We’ve improved some of our extra space, we just put new floors and new offices in the back, and new equipment.
“We’re trying to grow to meet the needs of our community and meet the needs for our programming.”
Add in a New Bethlehem Clinic and the Clarion YMCA clinic with aquatic therapy, Clarion Rehab is a busy and expanding operation.
We will see anyone
“We certainly will see anyone, even without insurance, and then they can fill out an application for assistance. Doctors generally prescribe a visit, but we can see them either way. We do have quite a few doctoral-level trained therapists here who can see people with what’s called direct access.
“I call this a garden variety clinic. we see young kids as early as two weeks old, we’ll see people in their nineties and the hundreds, and we’ll see people with pulmonary conditions, orthopedic conditions, and neurological conditions. the spectrum, which is what I like. We’re more of a generalist clinic.
“Typically, we see people with a referral from their physician which is the safest way to do it because they’ve run their tests and came up with a diagnosis. That way we’re all safe when we know that it’s indicated appropriately.”
A proud work family
“I couldn’t be prouder of my regular family and my work family. it’s just great to see the staff we’ve grown our staff and our services.”
“We’re all blessed to be able to work. At this point, I’m knocking on wood, the staff is just perfect-unlike probably 90 percent of the rest of the world. We try and promote a really good work environment. That’s a win-win for both the company and the people working for it Whether it’s hours, their money, or their benefits, we try to customize each person’s agreement.”
Many of Clarion Rehab have local roots.
“I would say the majority of our therapists are definitely from the surrounding region, but I do have four therapists that come from quite away…Grove City, Sharon, Kittanning, and Butler.”
Seth’s daughter, a doctoral-level trained therapist, is also on staff. She graduated from Slippery Rock and worked in the Washington, DC Metro area for a couple of years and then moved back home.
“What I really like is just the ability to get people up, get them moving, helping them reach their goals, whether it be to get home from the hospital, whether it be from here to participate in things like a 5K or in their children’s weddings or grandchildren’s weddings or things like that.”
For more information, go to https://www.clarionrehab.com.