I grew up in Alabama and had a natural love for football. Thankfully, I had the skills needed to earn a football scholarship at Wake Forest University. This allowed me to push myself against strong athletes and strive for academic excellence at a well-known school. The high-quality education provided by Wake was important to me as I pursued a future in the highly competitive healthcare field. At first, I planned on going to medical school, but two years of college football changed my path.
While playing football at Wake University, I sustained a herniated disc in my lumbar spine. To avoid surgery, I underwent physical therapy and made progress over the next six months. However, I decided to have a microdiscectomy operation after consulting with a physical therapist as I was not ready to return to the game.
Thanks to my physical therapist’s help, I was able to play football again a few months later. Unfortunately, upon returning, I experienced another herniated disc which led me to make the decision of ending my football career for the well-being of my back.
Fortunately, ongoing support from my physical therapist has allowed me to maintain a good quality of life despite my back condition. It no longer hinders me from participating in activities such as exercise that bring me joy. This personal experience has inspired me to pursue a career as a physical therapist and positively impact others’ lives.
Initially, my primary focus in physical therapy was on treating sports-related injuries. However, my perspective changed during my internship at Rehab Associates L.L.C over the summer. I discovered that athletes constituted only a small portion of the clinic’s patients. Instead, I had the opportunity to work with elderly individuals, people with work-related injuries, and even someone who had suffered brain damage from a car accident. Observing the positive impact on these patients’ quality of life brought me immense joy. This experience made me realize that as a physical therapist, my ultimate goal is not solely helping athletes regain their ability to participate in their sport but assisting all individuals in reclaiming their passion regardless of their interests.
During my life, particularly in my football career, I have experienced various injuries such as disc herniations, screws in the second metacarpal of my right hand, broken bones, and torn ligaments. Throughout the recovery process for these injuries, I have worked with multiple physical therapists. While some therapists were more effective than others, I personally witnessed the immense value that a physical therapist can provide. They not only prioritize tangible improvements in a patient’s physical functionality but also acknowledge the impact on their overall well-being. Although nobody wants to get injured, my personal encounters with injuries have developed a profound appreciation for the field of physical therapy. Ultimately, these experiences have influenced my decision to pursue a career in physical therapy instead of other healthcare professions.