By Collin Toennies, PT and Clinic Manager

ApexNetwork Physical Therapy – Smithton, IL

My journey to ApexNetwork is filled with experiences that led me to develop a passion for physical therapy and the care PTs provide to patients. 

I grew up in Saint Rose, Illinois, which is 45 minutes northeast of our Smithton, Illinois, location, where I work today. When I wasn’t spending time with my brother or two half-sisters, I was playing every sport I could. During my sophomore year in high school, I broke my pinky. Unfortunately, I had to undergo surgery, but after that, I had my first experience with physical therapy. The pinky injury wouldn’t be the last experience I had, though. During my junior year, I tore my labrum playing football — and then I tore it again during my senior year!

I sought treatment for those two shoulder injuries at ApexNetwork in Brees, Illinois. It was from those experiences that I saw the impact physical therapy can have on the community. I decided right then I wanted to pursue physical therapy as a career to help athletes in need. I knew I was going to need experience, so I took the initiative and interned at ApexNetwork during my senior year. 

I gained my undergraduate degree at the University of Indianapolis as an exercise major with a pre-physical therapy focus. During the summers, I interned at the Edwardsville, Highland, and Breese locations for ApexNetwork. 

After I earned my bachelor’s, I ventured to Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. During one of my clinical rotations, I gained a lot of experience doing orthopedic work, which set the tone for the rest of my education. During my time at Southwest Baptist, I also had the opportunity to do a lot of one-on-one work, which eased my fears and confirmed the passion I had for the orthopedic field. 

In my last year of school, I interned at Elite Physical therapy, where one of their therapists, Zach Boyal, took me under his wing. I was the first student he had the opportunity to teach, and he didn’t miss a step. He explained the “why” behind everything he did. He also showed me the research and offered resources for me to utilize when I treated patients myself. A lot of how I practice today is based on his mentorship, and I still refer to those resources from time to time. 

After I graduated and went to work at ApexNetwork, I met another mentor, Rob Blumberg. He taught me about the clinical aspect of our work at ApexNetwork, and he also showed me the administrative side of treating our patients. 

The thing that makes me feel most excited about my work is when a client tells me I’ve positively influenced them. When they want to hug me on discharge day, I know I have positively influenced their life. A teacher once told me that when people come in, they’re in a state of chaos. Essentially, we’re removing chaos from their experience. I’d love to take away some of the chaos from your life too. Call us today to schedule an appointment!