Third Time Is A Charm
Imagine a 12 year old gymnast who has trained tirelessly for the next season, her Level 8 season. It has been a great off-season, learning and adding new skills for each event.
During warm ups for uneven bars at the second meet of the year, she does not make her Giant all the way around. She turns off the high bar and rolls her ankle as she lands on the edge of the mat.
She has fractured her ankle.
Her immediate thought is, “There goes my season…”
Dad, who has taken the day off of work to support and cheer on his daughter, is watching from the stands. His first thought, “There goes all of that time and money we have dedicated to this upcoming season…”
This was me.
My name is Dr. Jodi Miller and I am a Physical Therapist. I was a competitive gymnast for 10 years in the Tampa area.
This experience was the first of THREE fractured ankles. I was placed in a cast for six weeks then cleared to return to gymnastics practice.
Little did I know how weak this made my ankle.
It was not until my second ankle fracture, that the physician referred me to Physical Therapy. It was short and quick, but it got me back into the gym.
When I was 16, after the third fracture, I was sent for another round of Physical Therapy.
And that was when I developed a strong interest in human anatomy. I loved learning about the bones and muscles. What they are, how they work, how they move, how they help us move.
I loved all of it!
This was when I decided I wanted to be a Physical Therapist…at 16!
I spent time volunteering at pediatric therapy clinics, outpatient clinics, and some hospitals. I then went to the University of Florida and received a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science (all while attending every home gymnastics meet – Go Gators!).
I then moved to North Carolina to earn my Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Elon University.
Since graduating in 2007, I have worked in various hospitals, outpatient clinics, and skilled nursing facilities. I have worked with people aged 0-99 and absolutely loved every bit of it.
I have been a Rehab Director and I have taught future physical therapists.
Since 2018, I have focused my career to helping gymnasts, cheerleaders, dancers, and active females be the best that they can be in their specific activity.
I help the athlete and the parents in the best way by providing one-on-one sessions and creating rehab programs that are specific to each person.
I make sure that I have the time and ability to talk with the athlete and the parents, to get to know them, to learn where they seek guidance, to be able to help them in any way.
Many athletes, and parents of athletes, fear that when they are hurt or injured, that they have to miss practice, their season is over, or they have to repeat their current level.
But that is not always the truth.
I believe that the athlete should continue to participate in practice, take an active role in getting better, and improve performance along the way. If you don’t do that, you do run the risk of missing the season or causing more injury.
I was able to rehab my ankle, compete later in the season, and advance to the Regional competition. I continued to participate in practice while I was attending Physical Therapy which kept me with my friends and teammates. This allowed for very little missed practice time and kept my morale up.
This is why I always encourage athletes to stay involved in practice and why I like to conduct some of the treatment sessions during the athlete’s practices. These things are important and definitely impact the athlete’s overall recovery.
I am also the mother of 2 very active little boys. I understand the worry of keeping them safe from injury, the stress of a busy day managing work/school/and play, the helplessness of not being able to help if something hurts or something is wrong, or the anxiety that comes with not knowing what to say to support them when they need it.
It is my goal to also provide parents the support, guidance, and help they need to navigate their young athlete’s injuries, fears, and goals.
It is important to me to help parents and athletes gain support to manage their injuries, provide guidance on how to stay active during practice while injured, and provide parents help when feeling lost about how to support their daughter during the rehab process.
Rehab is a team effort and everyone should be involved. This includes the athlete, the therapist, the parents, and the coaches.
I make it a point to talk to each of these people during the rehab process to ensure that everyone has the same goal.
If you have any questions about Physical Therapy or need help deciding if I am the right Physical Therapist for you or your athlete, please call 813-344-2787 or email me at Jodi@motusvitapt.org.
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For more information about Motus Vita Physical Therapy visit www.motusvitapt.org
|photo credit Abbey Saxton Photography|