Stronger as a TeamMy name is Dustin Hancock, and I’m a therapist here at Rausch Physical Therapy. I have a passion to work with challenged athletes.  My younger brother was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Cystic Fibrosis at birth.  I grew up helping him strive to play with me no matter what the sport was, and I never played easy with him.  I later realized I was improving his ability to walk and play sports which brought joy to his face and life. There were also some frustrations, but ones that drove him to push harder.  It was part of the Support Team that all challenged athletes need to help maximize their performance and improve their quality of life.  

Do You Know the Definition of a Team in the Rehabilitation Realm?

It’s individuals involved in establishing a plan and goals for the achievement of a patient’s maximum potential. The composition of the team will vary depending on the nature of the patient’s challenge, and the patient is always included as a member of the rehabilitation team.  The team includes family, friends, spouse or significant other, specialized primary doctors, prosthetists, nutritionists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and psychologists.

The most challenging aspect is not always the physical limitations, but the mental and psychological.  We don’t realize these struggles until we go through it ourselves (which may be just an orthopedic injury).  For example, Derrick Rose is a great athlete who plays basketball for the Chicago Bulls. Derrick injured himself two years ago and has been cleared to play per his physician, but feels he is not mentally ready.  

If you have ever broken a leg or injured an ankle and couldn’t walk on it, the first few steps are scary.  This is the same thing. FEAR. Think about the fear and doubts an amputee may have the first time they step on their new prosthetic limb or try to run for the first time.  This is pure heart and trust that the steps and team support has prepared them for this moment.  

Let’s give a moment to show respect for a challenged athletes and how much harder they train to be functioning in life or competing in sport compared to an able-bodied athlete. That’s truly amazing and I hope you all feel the same!