Physical therapists thanked by Super Bowl-bound Joe Burrow
AMHERST, N.Y. – While Western New Yorkers would prefer to see the Buffalo Bills take the field on Sunday, the world of physical therapy is feeling some love for Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Joe Burrow.
A little over a year ago, Burrow shared on Twitter his progress walking after he had reconstructive knee surgery. Fast forward to the conclusion of the AFC title game, Burrow gave thanks for two people who don’t always get the limelight in the flurry and excitement of NFL postgame interviews – he thanked his physical therapists.
“I thanked my physical therapist in the locker room,” Burrow told reporters. “He was with me all offseason. He put vacations on hold to get me back to where I needed to be. He really helped me a lot, as well as my physical therapist in California. I owe a lot to those two guys.”
That Burrow thought to thank his therapist immediately after the game and then give both therapists credit publicly resonates with Alanna Pokorski, Director of Physical and Occupational Therapy at Excelsior Orthopaedics.
“We have the unique advantage to work with patients multiple times per week, so therapists and patients develop a strong bond, and many physical therapists make incredible sacrifices to help patients achieve their goals,” Pokorski said. “This story highlighted the selfless actions of the PT and Joe Burrow recognizing his PT’s sacrifice to achieve his goal.”
Pokorski says the goal therapists strive to fulfill is restoring function for their patients.
“Physical therapists work exceptionally hard to partner with their patients and athletes to help them achieve their goals and return to sports, especially when it involves high level competition,” Pokorski said.
Playing football is not without risk. Improving medical science has reshaped how the sport handles concussions, and unfortunately, players are injured each season, whether they tear an ACL, break a bone, or otherwise.
In the case of Joe Burrow, who required knee reconstruction, a doctor performs the surgery and is present for checkups, but it is the physical therapists in the aftermath of surgery who will spend the most time with patients and athletes and who will see firsthand a patient’s ups and downs during the recovery process.
“We educate patients that once the surgery is performed, that this is when their hard work begins to achieve the ideal outcome. We see patients through all aspects of post operative care, both physically and emotionally. There are several emotions experienced after an injury, and we are fortunate to be able to help patients through that journey multiple times per week to help shape their ultimate goal, especially when the stakes are high,” Pokorski said.
For Burrow, his story of success will play out this Super Bowl Sunday during the championship game between the Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams.
“This story highlights that PTs need to be extremely positive, disciplined, and great educators to help athletes like Joe Burrow achieve his goal. It is awesome that his PT was recognized as a large part of his success as team prepares for the Super Bowl.”