I had the opportunity to travel to Wexford, Ireland and work in a Sports Med and PhysioTherapy Clinic for six weeks. Paul Berry, over the course of a month gave, me insight into a whole new side of treatment. The experience was eye opening.
I was able to connect past information learned through Jamestown Community College and apply it to treatments done on patients in the clinic. I was able to observe athletes showing signs of injury and watch, and help, Paul assess their injuries and construct a rehabilitation plan to help treat and heal the individual. I was surprised to learn how much deterioration the human body can go through due to a weak core. For example, weak hips can wear down your knees, ankles, and even your shoulders.
Paul would be able to see the issue by having them walk and checking their gate pattern to see any irregular movements. Towards the end of my stay I was able to pick up on certain irregularities and help assess, which I thought was pretty awesome. I got accustomed to writing up rehabilitation notes. I came to understand treatment plans and became familiar with movement vocabulary, such as abduction, extension and flexion.
I got to work alongside Majella Berry as well. She is a physiotherapist with a background in Pilates, which she incorporates into her rehab. This, in my opinion, is a genius idea. She used simple moves to increase mobility and help strengthen and build muscle to the injured area. She is able to explain the exercise in such small detail that anyone struggling with the exercise could master the technique in less than five repetitions. She is able to connect one on one with her patient and explain to them the exercise in ways they can understand it.
Both of these individuals are inspiring and have motivated me to continue on my path in athletic training. I am leaving Ireland confident in my knowledge that I’ve absorbed here.
Everyday in the clinic I got to play detective to determine why the person was in the pain and how to tackle the problem. I was shocked to discover how many injuries start with your hips. Either having weak or tight hips can effect how you walk, which over time can deteriorate your knees and ankles. I loved seeing new patients come in complaining of the same symptoms leading to hips issues and take them through programs to help restrengthen their hips, glutes, and back.
One of the greatest things I’ve learned is that if your foundation is weak then you will always be at high risk for issues and never perform at your best. What I mean by foundation is strong hips, glutes, abs, which leads to a strong back. Once you build on your foundation you can slowly incorporate further exercises to improve your extremities.
I was also introduced to trigger massage, which is the most painful but relieving treatment I’ve encountered. We place a great amount of pressure upon a knot in an area on the body which is tight or in spasm. It is very painful but the results are astounding. The massage is used to relieve muscle spasm located in areas such as hips, back, and shoulders where trauma has occurred. I was able to have my hips done and I felt like a million bucks after the treatment. It was remarkable to see how tight my hips were and how it affected the rest of my body. After the massage, I was put on a rehab program to strengthen my hips so spasm and tightness does not occur in the future. The reason behind the tightness was injury from a past sports career and overall fatigue of my weak muscles located in my hips. I am still doing my rehabilitation exercises and seeing a massive improvement in my overall health.
I got to work with some amazing people, and one of my favorites was a lady named Sharon. She had surgery to repair her core muscles and woke up with no feeling in her left leg and pelvis region. I was able to grow a bond with her and work alongside Majella to strengthen and try to improve the feeling in her left leg. Sharon inspired me to stay motivated and never give up on myself because she never gave up while working with me during her rehabilitation. I watched as there were small flickers of improvement, and moments like those made my job in the clinic worth it all.
I cannot wait to return to the clinic in the future to see all the smiling and welcoming people who made my internship one in a million!