Turning Point

I often get asked, “What made you want to be a physical therapist?” It’s a simple answer and it’s something that I call the turning point in my life even though I didn’t know it at the time.

I was a junior in high school and it was the second game of the football season against one of our archrivals. I was playing outside linebacker and was having a really good game with a bunch of tackles and an interception. It was the fourth quarter of the game and as an outside linebacker my responsibility was to make sure the running back didn’t get around my outside shoulder. As the ball was snapped I cheated up onto the line of scrimmage to meet the running back that was handed the ball. I did my job to perfection as the play went inside of me. I reached around a blocker and got my hand on the ball carrier at the same time that I was being blocked from behind. My left arm was in a precarious position and physics took over causing a fracture to my humerus bone (it wasn’t funny). Needless to say that was the end of my junior season, as I needed to be immobilized for the next 8 weeks.

And here is why I call this injury the turning point of my life. As a young man in high school who had just lost his junior season to injury I questioned, why me? At that time I had no idea why this happened to me. I don’t know how much I believe in fate but as I began rehab with a physical therapist I thought how I would some day like to help people as I was helped return to what I loved doing. The rest is history and after 29 years I can still say that it’s something I love doing.

by Rob O'Connell

Valpak Digital