Why Did I Become a PT

Digging a previously unaired video out of the archives to celebrate my first year in business with Synaptic Physical Therapy! Thank you all for being here as this business grows. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many new people and have been honored to be trusted by so many of you to help you get moving again!

On to the video…

Today’s Treatment Table Talk, which is what we named my short series of videos, is coming from a yoga mat for two reasons. One: It’s really important to know that treatment can happen in a lot of different places. A yoga mat might be just as important as my treatment table some days. And two: it’s because my treatment table is in my car and I don’t want to go get it because I’m lazy.

I got a couple questions from patients that I thought would be fun to talk about: Why did I become a physical therapist?

Originally, when I went to apply to school I enrolled in an undergraduate degree for computer science and computer engineering. I have always had a really big interest in technology and computers and it’s still a hobby I have to this day. Then in my senior year of high school I was doing martial arts and I went to kick someone – the martial art I was doing is mostly grappling oriented – and the movement they were doing was to catch my foot and twist. I was supposed to jump over my own leg and land on my side to make sure they didn’t break my foot. When I landed from that I went to get up and I realized I couldn’t straighten my knee anymore. At the time I’m a high schooler and no one there had any medical training. So I’m hopping around with my knee bent because I can’t straighten it. So my dad, who did martial arts with me for a long time, takes me to the emergency room and my mom met us there. They ended up injecting my knee with lidocaine, a numbing agent, and straightened my leg into an immobilizer which is not the most pleasant experience in the world.

So we’re driving home in my dad’s truck, my leg is propped up. The road to my house is really bumpy and we go over a big bump and I get a sharp jolt of pain in my knee. It was so painful. But after the jolt of pain I realized my knee didn’t hurt anymore so I took it out of the immobilizer. Suddenly, I realized that I could bend and straighten it again, which was super weird to me at the time.

It took us a couple days to get an appointment at our local orthopedic surgeons office. His name is Dr. Carls and I think he’s still practicing in my hometown Cumberland, Maryland. He told me that I probably tore my meniscus, which is a piece of cartilage in my knee. The\ld between my knee basically flipped over and got stuck and because it was stuck I couldn’t straighten my knee out. It ended up getting stuck again and Dr. Carls went in and did surgery where he repaired the meniscus with sutures to make sure it didn’t flap over again and allow it to heal.

Long story short, I was in an immobilizer for a long while – several weeks – and I couldn’t bend my knee. I was walking around straight legged. I lost a ton of muscle in that 6-8 weeks in the immobilizer and I ended up going to physical therapy in Cumberland at a place called Rehab First. I was with a therapist named Brett. I really like him and ended up volunteering with him later at his clinic.

I had a realization as I was doing physical therapy that I didn’t think I’m suited to sit in an office all day. I was so interested in movement, I was doing martial arts and I thought it would be really nice to help people with movement again. I actually kind of thought “This job seems pretty easy!” I was wrong about that part. It’s definitely not an easy job and it’s not super easy to help people with movement but it is very enjoyable and it is so nice to interact with other people. I think if I was a computer programmer I’d probably go a little stir crazy and be the person at the office who didn’t let anyone else get anything done because I’d be going around talking to everyone. So after I had my own physical therapy I switched my major in college from Computer Science to Athletic Training.

I loved being an Athletic Training student. I really never had any intention of practicing as an Athletic Trainer but I wanted it as an undergraduate degree to help going into Physical Therapy school. I’m really glad I did it and I think I would have also been really happy as an Athletic Trainer because they’re very similar roles. I am still to this day a happily licensed Athletic Trainer and I use a lot of the skills I learned there. From there I went to Physical Therapy school and got my doctorate degree, all because I had my own physical therapy.

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