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Why Integrative Sports Medicine?

Athletes are Human Beings (not human doings)

I was the kid who challenged adults. Reports from my primary school teachers were always mixed. I was academically and intellectually excellent, yet often spoke out of turn, talked too much, wiggled a lot, and frequently distracted my classmates. My analytical and highly inquisitive brain brought my thought process to the next level a bit faster than others. After an introduction to an interesting, new subject or topic, I quickly sought information that was a few grade levels above the lessons we were being taught.  While sometimes interpreted as a challenge to authority, it was never my intention to disrespect my teachers, instructors, coaches, or adult relatives. I simply wanted to know. As I continue to grow up, that has not changed. My mind stretches to know.


Not just intellectually, I also wanted to learn how to do things, especially physical activities. My young parents were physically active and took us kids along for all recreational activities. I accepted every opportunity to participate in sporting activities - from swim lessons to softball, water-skiing, gymnastics, downhill skiing, rollerblading, etc.. Throughout my adolescence as my body was physically growing and physiologically maturing, I had aches, pains and a few injuries. Some of those complaints led to the doctor’s office where I was frequently disappointed to learn that it was growing pains or that it would eventually heal, just be careful. There had to be more or better or practical solutions or at least recommendations. After two foot fractures in two consecutive high-school gymnastics seasons, (subsequently impacting my ski season), I decided I could offer more than I had received from the medical system. So I went to college to study biology in the Pre-Med program. 


While working as a student athletic trainer in college, I had the opportunity to work with and learn from several sports medicine and orthopedic physicians. I also worked closely with the certified athletic trainers and collaborated with local PTs and Chiropractors. It became obvious quite quickly that if an athlete didn’t need a drug or a surgery, the physicians didn’t offer much else, nor did they take the time to know the athlete/patient. I became a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) and Physical Therapist (PT) so I could connect at a deeper level while providing service with tangible progress and outcomes. I honed my skills in sports medicine and rehab over the next decade.


It was during a Grand Slam tennis tournament in 2007 when circumstances made me really question the process and accepted sports medicine philosophy. I was working as a primary healthcare provider for the WTA, providing health services to female professional tennis players around the world. During this event, 2 highly ranked, elite athletes presented with complicated health challenges. Over the course of the next 18 months, it took a team of health care professionals from various disciplines working together to diagnose accurately and effectively each of the athletes and determine an appropriate plan of care. This had a profound impact on my sense of adequacy as a healthcare provider. It made me understand the importance of looking deeper to find the root cause for every ailment in every athlete. And it highlighted the fact that no one else was doing it. That simply is not how our allopathic medical system works. If I wasn’t constantly asking, pushing and advocating for the athletes, the medical doctors were unlikely to seek further.


I left the system.  I continued my education while operating a private practice focused on comprehensive care for the individual. I expanded my mind and broadened my skill set. I coordinated a network of medical, healthcare and wellness professionals to collaborate to provide complementary therapies based on the needs of each unique person. For a human being presented to me, I want to know. I want to figure it out and understand it and help her/him understand it and work together to find solutions that will help her/him create a life s/he loves. 


And that has led to NW Integrative Physiotherapy where everyone is an athlete with unlimited potential at every age.

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