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Seeing The Bigger Picture: Grace Pre Physical Therapy Program Considers Mind, Body, and Spirit

The Pre Physical Therapy program at Grace College, prepares you mind, body & spirit. Learn more about the Physical Therapist Degree Program.

God’s ways are not our ways. 

Often, we only gain a tangible understanding of our human shortsightedness through our own sorrow and confusion. And when we truly grasp our full dependence on God, our faith enriches every area of our lives. Grace alumnus Matthew Hauck has learned this firsthand. The trials he has faced as a husband, a father, and a child of God, refine his vocation as a physical therapist.

Hauck grew up in Winona Lake, Indiana, and his roots in the town and at Grace College run deep. His grandparents, Dick and Ginny Leaf, are in the Grace College Lancer Hall of Fame, and he remembers attending all of the Lancer basketball games as a child.

Hauck’s love of sports extended into high school, where he played football at Warsaw Community High School. He initially assumed he’d do the same in college, but three shoulder dislocations later, and college ball was no longer an option.

“I spent more time in a physical therapy clinic than on a football field,” said Hauck.

Though grievous at the time, Hauck’s high school injuries directed him to his future career. After graduating, he sought a college with an excellent pre physical therapy program. Hauck applied to a larger state school, but his scholarships fell through and redirected his focus to other colleges, ultimately landing him at the school that played such a large role in his childhood.

“As a child, I would gaze out the window of Jefferson Elementary School and observe a mass of Grace students walking across campus and wonder where they were going,” said Hauck. “I now know that they were coming from chapel. I never would have guessed that in the fall of ‘98, I would become one of them,” said Hauck.

As a Grace student, Hauck double majored in general science and sports studies, taking courses that prepared him for physical therapy (PT) school. He also worked as a basketball manager and student trainer. Using what he learned in the pre physical therapy program, he served as a physical therapy aide at Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital (LKH), the same clinic he visited to rehabilitate his repeat shoulder injuries in high school.

Hauck continued to attend his childhood church, Winona Lake Grace Church, throughout college. Through his church and campus community, Hauck’s faith was strengthened — a blessing that carried into his time at PT school.

After completing Grace’s pre physical therapy program, Hauck attended Washington University in St. Louis. Even though he wasn’t attending a Christian college anymore, God provided opportunities for him to be a Christian witness amidst the religious diversity of his peers. He also got plugged into a Bible study through the school, which just so happened to include several other Grace graduates.

About halfway through completing the physical therapist degree program, Hauck was contacted by Tom Johnson, his old physical therapist at LKH. Johnson asked him to return to Warsaw and complete an internship for his pre physical therapy program.

The Pre Physical Therapy program at Grace College, prepares you mind, body & spirit. Learn more about the Physical Therapist Degree Program.

“I was supposed to do a clinical on a Native American reservation,” said Hauck. “But it was canceled at the last minute, so I accepted the internship at LKH”

It was by God’s providence that he did. Working at LKH, Hauck met his future wife, Sarah.

“She used to work at the clinic, too, and everyone loved her,” said Hauck. “When I returned to the clinic, they convinced me to ask her out to some social events. Soon, we started dating, and from there we got married.”

Hauck and his wife found the joy of their new marriage was coupled with the tremendous grief of loss. Within two years of their wedding, Hauck’s mother-in-law passed away, the couple experienced multiple miscarriages, and they delivered a stillborn child.

“That was a big test of faith,” said Hauck. “It was difficult for us.”

Yet God drew near, comforting the couple in their grief through the compassion of other believers. The Haucks found solace in community, joining a small group at their church.

“Sometimes, God places people in your life to help you through difficult situations,” said Hauck. “We found that some of our small group members had gone through miscarriages, too. Talking to them helped my wife and I through the healing process.”

Still hoping for a child, the couple decided to adopt. Yet the process demanded finances that they lacked. The Haucks and their parents prepared to make major financial decisions to fund an adoption. But within four days of a scheduled home appraisal, the couple received the glad news of Sarah’s pregnancy.

In 2010, the couple welcomed their first child, Zach, into their family. In 2016, God unexpectedly blessed them again with a second child.

“When my son was five, he was making these gestures,” said Hauck. “My wife asked him what he was doing, and he replied, ‘Asking for a baby sister.’ ‘Santa Claus?’ she asked. He said, ‘No. God.’”

The following August, the Haucks gave birth to their daughter Alaina.

In light of the trials he’s experienced, Hauck makes no distinction between his faith and his career. He finds his own experience with grief has made him sensitive to his clients’ suffering. 

“In the physical therapy field, there’s a huge overlap between mental and physical health,” said Hauck. “An unwell mind often results in an unwell body. So though I’m not a psychologist, nor pretend to be, I do have to treat both avenues.”

Hauck knows that the true balm to suffering is found in Jesus Christ, and his faith allows him to encourage his clients on a deeper level.

“My clients can tell that I’m a Christian,” he said. “I’m able to minister to them by encouraging them and helping them through their struggles.”

Now the Director of Rehabilitation at Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital, Hauck oversees the administrative work for the department in addition to working with clients. According to him, the Christian hope he offers his clients was drawn from his own testimony.

“I help my clients understand that there’s a bigger picture than what we can see,” he said. “And I’ve learned this across my own life. I didn’t know whether I’d be married or where I’d work for my career, but I had to trust that the bigger picture still exists, even if I can’t explain it. Everything ultimately works out according to God’s will.”


If you want a physical therapist degree program that cultivates your understanding of mind, body and spirit, learn more about Grace College’s pre physical therapy program at

Tagged With: Alumni, Exercise Science, School of Science and Engineering, Science