Leisure Physical Therapy - June2020



JUNE 2020



forward-thinking school. Recently, they quickly set up a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility to help everyone in their area. Getting my doctorate was probably the toughest part of that journey, especially since they offer a three-year program instead of four and make you study very hard even through the summers. During that time, my drive was empowered by my family yet again, but this time more directly. My grandmother started struggling with back pain and balance issues, and I knew the more I could learn at school, the more I could help her. Seeing her almost every day and tracking her recovery was one of the earliest and most rewarding experiences I’ve had as a physical therapist. You can really understand the impact of your education when you see how it strengthens the people you love. It didn’t necessarily mean that studying was any easier, but being able to help loved ones made such a huge difference. I never thought about giving up, especially because of the ongoing support from my then-boyfriend. He’d prepare dinner for me if I couldn’t get my head out of my books because of midterms. He also knew when to pull me away from my desk so we could go out for dinner and enjoy a break together. We’ve been together for eight years now (my high school sweetheart!), and we got married just this year in late January. It was a small

I was the first person in my family to go into the medical field, although you could say my family might be a big reason why I jumped into the field at all. Showing up for others and staying connected with people was always important to us. Every Sunday, the whole family makes sure we get together to eat and spend time with everyone. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins — we don’t wait until the holidays to make an effort to see each other. Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved working with people. As a high schooler, I volunteered at the library. I’d find books for others or help seniors use the computers. It stood out to me as something I enjoyed. But I wanted to make a greater impact: I wanted to help people feel even happier and healthier about themselves. I think that made me decide I wanted to be in the medical field. Now, tackling what medical field I wanted to study was a different story! It took a year of volunteering in a whole bunch of fields for me to figure it out. During my first year of college, I interned at hospitals, physical therapy clinics, hand therapy clinics — pretty diverse locations. But of course, I totally fell in love with physical training, and by the time I finished my first year, I knew that’s what I’d pursue. I graduated with my undergraduate and graduate degrees at Stony Brook University, New York. It’s an incredible,

and intimate wedding with 50 people from all sides; our reception was in an amazing restaurant called Toast in Patchogue, if you’ve heard of it! Lately, I still rely on my passion for working with people to get me through these difficult times. We’re all in this together. I know how tough it’s been for many lately, especially if they’ve been spending time away from their families. One of the things I love most about being a physical therapist is that I get to spend a full hour with you. It’s not just a 15-minute session where the interactions with my patients go in and out. In these times, staying clean and safe and caring for yourselves is more important than ever. Also, exercise is such a great tool for stress relief, even at home. I still run — from a safe distance to others! — every day. It helps clear my mind, just like how meditation does for some. Thanks to Leisure Physical Therapy for spotlighting my journey this month. Please be kind to yourself, friends, and stay in touch with your loved ones. Have a happy June! –Dr. Devon Kuntzsch

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