Advanced Physical Therapy & Fitness - February 2020




With the Superbowl happening this month and every sports fan I know debating their team’s odds, I’ve been thinking a lot about football. For most people, that might mean diving into the latest stats or mulling over next year’s Fantasy Football options, but considering my line of work, thinking about any sport quickly snowballs into thinking about sports injuries. In my years as a physical therapist, I’ve been lucky to help dozens of athletes of all skill levels get back on their feet after injuries and return to the games they love. That includes quite a few football players, who tend to come in with lower-body injuries to their hips, backs, or legs. According to USA Today, more people are injured playing football each year than any other sport, so it’s probably no surprise that I’ve developed a close relationship with one of the high school football teams here in Greely: the Dayspring Christian Academy Eagles. In April 2019, I started working with one of the Eagles’ star players, running back/middle linebacker Caden Bonnell. The previous September, Caden had suffered two major injuries while playing for the Eagles. In the same week, he broke his pelvis during a game and then tore his hamstring in practice. Caden didn’t realize how bad his injuries were immediately, but he did start seeing a physical therapist to help him manage the pain. After a series of treatments, his recovery hit a wall, and his PT told

him they’d done everything they could. Caden was frustrated with his progress and starting to wonder if these injuries would be the end of his sports career (he also played basketball and track at the time). Then, a word of mouth referral led him to my door. “My coach suggested I go to this massage therapist, who suggested I do Pilates, and my Pilates teacher suggested I go and see Tom,” Caden remembers. Caden’s injury was a puzzle, and I threw myself into figuring out what I could do to help him. My approach emphasizes manual therapy, and I was able to offer Caden something different than what his old PT could. Soon, he started seeing results, and by the time football season started back up again in July 2019, he was cleared to play. “The PT process included seeing Tom twice a week for the first three weeks, then going to him once a week after that,” Caden says. “My PT experience at Advanced PT was really different from the previous PT experiences that I've had because Tom is hands-on for the entire appointment.” The Eagles are ranked as the fourth- best team in the state of Colorado, so understandably, football plays a huge part in Caden’s life. He was ecstatic and relieved to be back on the field, so much so that when his teammates were injured, he recommended they come see me too.

“I made those recommendations specifically because of the extensive knowledge Dr. Cleveland has when it comes to anatomy, problem-solving, and how the body works and because I appreciated the hands-on time in every appointment,” Caden says. Since Caden started coming to my clinic, I’ve seen almost all of the Eagles’ starting players and one of their reserves for injuries they sustained over the course of the season, ranging from back and hip pain to neck issues. I really appreciate Caden putting in a good word for me, and love being able to get these local heroes back in the game! While I’ve treated a lot of football injuries in my time, I’ve also seen plenty of patients with basketball, volleyball, rock climbing, skiing, CrossFit, mountain biking, and even curling injuries. Coloradans are an active bunch, but sometimes striving to be fit and healthy can lead to overdoing it. If you’ve been there, and particularly if you’ve been in Caden’s shoes and had a PT give up on you, I can put my expertise to work for you. Call me today at 970-301-3149 or email to set up an appointment. I’d love to help you get back to your old self! –Dr. Thomas Cleveland

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