Growing up, I loved sports — golf, basketball, tennis, I did it all — but I loved baseball most. But playing so many sports meant that I suffered a plethora of injuries. One, in particular, changed my life forever.
I grew up in Freeburg, Illinois. I loved the community because everyone was supportive and passionate about staying active. When my friends and I weren’t studying, you could find us practicing on the baseball field, the basketball court, or the golf course.
I loved baseball, but unfortunately, that’s the sport I got hurt in the most. At one point, I fractured a growth plate in my elbow, and it was a scary thing for a high school student to experience. It’s no exaggeration to say the physical therapists I worked with made all the difference in the world. They were so supportive and encouraged me throughout the entire process. Through that life-altering experience, I saw how rewarding a physical therapy career could be. As a PT, you constantly interact with patients and get to witness a patient’s progress throughout their injury recovery journey, while a doctor may only see a patient once every few months.
The anatomy of it all also intrigued me, and when I was young, I was always asking my physical therapists questions about it. I knew that if I was going to pay forward the goodwill of my old PTs, I was going to have to have an in-depth knowledge of all body functions. So, as I started my undergraduate career at Illinois Wesleyan University, I majored in biology.
After graduating with my bachelor’s, I went to Saint Louis University, where I got my master’s degree in physical therapy. During that time, I shadowed PTs during clinical rotations, and I learned how to care for patients properly. Every patient is different, and you need to adjust treatment accordingly. For instance, some patients may appreciate more repetition, while others may benefit from other strategies.
After I graduated from Saint Louis University in 2008, I went to work for ApexNetwork Physical Therapy. In the first few years at ApexNetwork, I was able to hone my skills as a practitioner. The whole staff made sure I was on a path to success, especially my mentor, Rich Fleming. Rich is an experienced clinic manager who taught me different treatment techniques and manual techniques.
As I’ve grown into the role over the years, what keeps me excited every day is the work we do with our patients. It’s so rewarding to help active folks in our area get back to what they’re so passionate about and help the older individuals in our community maintain their independence. Our patients are so motivated that it pushes me to work just as hard as they do every day.
We work with our patients to get them back to what they love through several techniques. We work on motor unit recruitment strategies and home exercises to ensure they’re progressing at a rate they’re comfortable with. Today, I’m living the dream because I get to help patients return them to what matters most to them, in the same way my high school physical therapists did for me all those years ago.