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Functionize: The Student's Perspective

My name is Ava, and I’m known as “The Intern” at Functionize.

When I started planning for college, I hadn’t yet considered a career in physical therapy. My plan was to get a degree in musical theatre and make my Broadway debut by the time I was 21. Unfortunately, I suffered two consecutive ballet-related knee injuries just before audition season, and my dreams of Broadway fame were dashed. On the bright side, I was immersed in a totally different field—physical therapy! I worked for almost a year with two therapists who were extremely invested in my progress, and I loved the connection I was able to make with them. I had also always had an interest in biomechanics and kinesiology, thanks to my mom (a ballet teacher who spends A LOT of time educating her students about proper technique and injury prevention). The combination of both the personal and scientific aspects piqued my interest, and I soon decided that I wanted to pursue physical therapy as a career.

Originally I was interested in working with dancers and athletes, but my interests evolved as I spent time observing professionals in the health and wellness field. One chiropractor I shadowed told me about the importance of pelvic health and suggested I spend some time at Functionize. I had never even heard of pelvic health so I decided to investigate, and I was immediately blown away! I loved it so much that I asked if I could work as an intern.

Here’s why:

  • The Functionize therapists spend an hour one-on-one with their patients, instead of juggling three patients at a time.

  • They spend more time using hands-on therapy, not wasting treatment time to have their patients perform home exercises.

  • They listen to their patients’ concerns and do their best to address them immediately.

  • They tailor their patients’ treatments instead of prescribing a general treatment that will only sort-of help.

  • They form a more personal relationship with their patients, which is one of the things that attracted me to physical therapy in the first place.

  • They’re able to save their patients’ money because their treatments are so effective.

  • They spend time educating their patients, which I believe is a key component of speedy recovery.

  • Not only is Functionize great for patients, but it’s also great for me and my education.

I don’t feel like I’m expected to be invisible while I observe. I have multiple opportunities to ask questions, and the therapists always take time to explain what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. They’ve taught me lots of informational tidbits that I might not pick up in a classroom setting. And I’m learning about things beyond physical therapy. Our weekly staff meetings have given me a glimpse of what it takes to run a PT practice (which turns out to involve a lot of things I thought I’d never need to know. Whoops! Guess it’s time to review my notes from my business management classes).

Interning here has been more than just a preparation for PT school—it has set me up to be an excellent physical therapist. So thank you, Functionize Family, for making my internship experience greater than I ever hoped it could be!

Born and raised in Georgia, Ava is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist who will receive her B.S. in Exercise Science from Georgia State University in May 2018. Upon graduation, she will attend Mercer University to pursue her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. She currently lives in Brookhaven with her grandmother.

Ava has a background in ballet and musical theatre, and she first became interested in physical therapy after suffering multiple ballet-related injuries. She has a wide range of professional interests, including pelvic health, geriatrics, and working with dancers. She would like to focus her practice around preventative conditioning and manual therapy.

For fun, Ava enjoys backpacking, yoga, riding her bike through Atlanta, rock climbing, and archery.

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