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Physical therapy changes lives — and not just for patients and clients. PTs, PTAs, and students often have profound experiences that lead them to a career in physical therapy or reaffirm their decision to join the profession.

In recognition of this year's National Physical Therapy Month, we've curated a sample of APTA Magazine’s Defining Moment columns published in the last five years so you can hear from your colleagues in their own words and voices about the experiences that shaped their careers.

You can read even more inspirational stories on our website, and don't forget to subscribe to APTA Podcasts for the latest Defining Moment stories, practice updates, and more.         

A Word Changed Us
A patient's permanent reminder of her PT's instruction left an indelible mark on both of them. Read the story; listen to the podcast.

The Perfect Profession for Me
A light came on not only in a dark hospital basement but in a future PT’s head that this was her ideal career. Read the story; listen to the podcast.

What More Could I Wish For
A home visit to a patient with an intriguing background led a PT back to the profession. Read the story; listen to the podcast.

I See Me in You
A PT reflects on opening a clinic in an underserved neighborhood. Read the story; listen to the podcast.

Sweat Equity Pays Off
It's hard to work under a layer of PPE, but a PTA found the results to be incredibly uplifting. Read the story; listen to the podcast.

Growing Pains                             
Self-reflection about her own pain origins made a path clear for a PT. Read the story; listen to the podcast. 

Class Action
Physical therapist students identified and met a need. Patients with cancer benefitted. Read the story; listen to the podcast.

Forged on the Battlefield: A New Mission  
A military veteran's career path to physical therapy began in Afghanistan. Read the story; listen to the podcast.

APTA Magazine’s recurring Defining Moment column spotlights a particular moment, incident, or case that either led the writer to a career in physical therapy or confirmed why they chose to become a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. To submit an essay or find out more, email

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