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Defining Moment Author

There's nothing like having the "This is what I want to do with my life!" epiphany. I've had 2. The first came during my first year of middle school, when I witnessed my great-grandfather's rehabilitation after a major stroke.

I was amazed to see how his physical therapists (PTs) helped "Pa" regain function and get his life back, given his initial severe impairment. That was my introduction to the profession of service that is physical therapy. In my young eyes, PTs worked miracles! I had found my calling. Every academic goal I set from the fifth grade on was linked to my one day becoming a PT.

Growing up as an athlete contributed to my interest in and appreciation for rehabilitation. During my freshman year in college I coached competitive gymnastics. Through that experience, I learned a lot about how to teach young women difficult physical and mental concepts about prevention, maintenance, and competition that came naturally to me. I learned the value of approaching each participant as an individual—providing what that person needed to become successful. I built trust with my gymnasts. We had fun together. They taught me a lot about how to be a successful PT, although neither they nor I knew that at the time.

I was elated in 2000 to be accepted into a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program. I continued teaching and coaching gymnastics until I entered my final internships. Life lessons learned through those experiences influence my practice of physical therapy today.

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  1. Mize L. Nassar's atrocities stigmatize a legitimate medical treatment. HuffPost. January 24, 2018. Accessed March 30, 2018.

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