Behind Every Olympian is a Great Physical Therapist
The 2018 Winter Olympics have begun!
What an amazing sight to see. You love watching the athletes, right? Whether it is figure skating, ski jumping, snowboarding, or ice hockey, each sport is exciting.
It’s easy to be in awe of how talented the athletes are and what they can do with their bodies. Equally impressive are the speeds they can attain, the skills they can perform while flying through the air, and the balance they maintain while on ice or snow. They make it look so easy and so effortless.
How do they compete at such a high level with such perfection? Are they just naturally talented and born with an unbreakable body?
The answer to that question is absolutely not.
Although talent and a healthy body are necessary to make the Olympics, they aren’t attributes that come easily or are accomplished by the athlete alone. Every Olympian has to find that delicate balance between training at an intensely high level and staying healthy in the process. The majority of Olympians can rattle off a list of injuries that they have endured, which were potential setbacks to their athletic and fitness goals. Additionally, they can tell you about the ones they fought through and recovered from. Making the Olympics requires a team behind you, even for solo sports.
This includes parents, coaches, doctors, and most of all, your physical therapists. Behind every Olympian is a great physical therapist!
How PTs Help Olympians
Although not commonly talked about or publicized, every one of these athletes can tell you a story about how their physical therapist is a crucial part of their success. Physical therapy professionals are responsible for three separate aspects of athletic care and support.
- Years of injury prevention education
- Recovering from a minor injury
- Rehabilitating a potentially season-ending injury
In each of these scenarios, athletes all had a therapist who worked with them day in and day out to guide them through their recovery process. Getting better takes time, effort and patience. If you’ve never attended a PT appointment before, you may not know what to expect. Don’t let that uncertainty keep you from utilizing a helpful tool.
Devin Logan a 2-time Olympian in freestyle skating can tell you about her recovery from her ACL injury in 2011. Mike Schultz, too, was a silver medalist world champion in snowboarding. He required intense physical therapy to re-learn how to walk with a prosthetic leg after a severe injury led to a leg amputation. There’s also Lindsay Vonn, a 4-time Olympian in ski racing. She’ll tell a story about recovering from a back injury, a humerus fracture, and an ACL tear.
All of these athletes in addition to many more at the Olympics vouch for how important their physical therapist was in returning to their sport.
Starting Physical Therapy Means Finding The Right Professional
The “right” physical therapist is different for everyone. Some patients simply need a general practitioner that helps them get back on track and build strength and mobility. Others, like Olympic and professional athletes need those that have PT specialties. This means that a physical therapist has experience with treating injuries common to a certain sport or assisting athletes with recovery.
Figuring out what kind of physical therapist you need is the first step. The next is to start researching clinics and facilities for athletic physical therapy.
Information is available online about local clinics, physical therapists, and recommended treatment plans. Asking questions is recommended. Visiting clinics before committing to a PT appointment or treatment plan is a good idea. Everyone that utilizes physical therapy has to start somewhere. If you’re unsure of what to expect at your first physical therapy appointment, read this blog.
Don’t settle. Physical therapy is an important part of an athlete’s life, and choosing the right clinic goes a long way toward ensuring that you heal, recover, train and improve at the speed you need.
Find Your Own Physical Therapist Today!
As you watch the Winter Olympics, be inspired, and be hopeful. And, don’t let your own personal injuries get in the way of becoming the best athlete you can be. Whether it is for injury prevention or injury rehabilitation, BetterPT is here to help you find a quality physical therapist in your area. Search with the BetterPT clinic location tool or download the mobile app. Both options allow you to make make an appointment without a referral at a physical therapy clinic near you. This is thanks to direct access, which means not needing a referral to attend your first physical therapy appointment. Check out this patient’s experience with direct access and get back to doing what you love soon!
One more option for attending a physical therapy appointment is using a telehealth platform like BetterTelehealth. Athletes (and non-athletes) are often very busy. This makes attending physical therapy sessions difficult at times, but when it’s possible to attend them without leaving home? It gets easier.
Dr. Marla Ranieri graduated from Stanford University with her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology in 2005 and went on to receive her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2009. She has worked with all types of individuals, including professional athletes as part of the USA Gymnastics Medical Staff. Marla continues to treat patients with evidence-based medicine and the best quality of care.