A Lesson In Patience On Marathon Monday

By: Megan James, PT, DPT


One year ago today, I was running the most sought-after 26.2 miles through the streets of Boston with at least one million cheerleaders – including some of my family – alongside me all the way to the infamous “right on Hereford, left of Boylston.” It was absolutely the most incredible experience in my running career.


About one month later, I was still living on the “high” of completing the Boston Marathon and had resumed my normal training schedule after only a few days of rest. I woke up one morning to go for a run and realized I could not walk due to severe pain in my left foot. Between my own knowledge and consulting with other physical therapists, we had a pretty good idea about what was going on. After seeing a podiatrist and having X-rays and an MRI, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture on my 4th metatarsal with deep bone bruising on my 5th metatarsal. My summer would be spent on crutches and in a walking boot – no running and no biking.


It wasn’t until the end of September that I was able to return to running, and that was only for a few minutes at a time to start. By the end of October, I was up to running 3-4 miles at a time and was feeling optimistic about being able to resume my training, but my eagerness to return overcame my patience, leading me to push it too hard. I had a recurrence of foot pain in early November that sidelined me for an additional week. From that point on, I made a promise to myself to be more patient and cognizant with my training to ensure my body was fully recovered.


After almost a year off of racing, I found myself back on the starting line at the Syracuse Half in March. I bested my half marathon time by six minutes and broke the 1:30 barrier for the first time. The past 10 months were a true test of my patience – if not for recognizing the importance of taking a step back in the fall, I would likely be back at square one right now. As a physical therapist and a competitive distance runner, I cannot stress enough to myself, my friends and my patients that patience is a virtue, and a very important one at that. Next up on my race schedule? Bennington Marathon, followed by a week of REST.


The State of Sports PT

By: Lynn Steenberg, President and CEO


Dear Friends,


It is hard to believe that this summer will mark our tenth anniversary! As I reflect back over the years, I am reminded of how, together, we have transformed every challenge and/or change into an opportunity. That is certainly true for this past year.


The decision to divest the downstate region in June was one of the most difficult, and yet most disciplined, decisions of my career. The subsequent feedback from our downstate colleagues has been positive as they now have more local support. More importantly, it has afforded us the opportunity to focus solely on our communities across the thruway in Upstate New York.


Lots of exciting things are happening! Today, we are an organization of 75 incredibly dedicated professionals serving nearly 340 patients daily in eight locations from Buffalo to Saratoga. The acquisition of Championship PT in July expanded our presence in Central New York leading to a new strategic partnership with the YMCA in Manlius. The Buffalo clinic which opened in late 2013 established itself as a leader in the downtown market.


I am extremely proud of our collective commitment to living our values each and every day. Here are some of our accomplishments as a “values-driven” service provider:


  • Superior Clinical Care: We added online continuing education training through Medbridge for all clinicians. Internal mini-courses were offered on the shoulder and knee.  And every market was represented at a weekend course presented by internationally renowned, Stu McGill.
  • Professional Integrity & Ethics: We continued to be invested in comprehensive compliance auditing and are already prepared for the ICD-10 conversion.
  • Outstanding Communication: We are a leader in social media with nearly 1200 followers on Facebook. Our weekly blogs share valuable information with the general public.
  • Respectful, Courteous Service: The newly formed FAST team provided valuable support in our commitment to providing the best service at all levels.
  • To provide Effective, Evidence-based treatment: Latest research is reviewed and discussed on our monthly journal club calls and is regularly shared internally.
  • Service in a Friendly, Ethical Atmosphere: A smile, a hug or a cup of coffee are part of each clinic culture. And our Saratoga clinic was recognized as the best PT practice in Saratoga.
  • Patient Confidentiality: We invested in new computers with advanced security measures and improved operational efficiencies.
  • To Have Fun: We enjoyed a company-wide summer picnic and holiday celebrations in every region.


Our mission clearly points to the compassion that makes this organization special. We continue our commitment to giving back to the communities we serve. Examples include food and clothing drives at the holidays, therapeutic yoga (Buffalo), education open house (Rochester), Fleet Feet presentations to runners (Syracuse), and Sportsmetrics (Saratoga) – just to name a few.


Sports PT is unique in its focus on professional growth opportunities through regular clinical, leadership and administrative trainings that led to multiple promotions in 2014. We continue to promote the physical therapy profession by involvement in the APTA at the national, state and local levels as well as through our extensive student affiliation program. Our clinicians represented Sports PT at national and regional conferences.


As we look forward to this year, we will be guided by three main principles. We will employ strategies to improve reimbursement and reduce operational costs. We will fully recognize our expertise and educate others to see us as the first stop in the patient care continuum for most musculoskeletal conditions. And we will deliver results through a framework of “Love, Serve and Care”.


Sports PT is proud of its high standards. It is not easy. We are open long hours, on most holidays, and Saturdays. We are committed to living our values to serve – through exceptional teamwork and unselfish dedication to our customers. Thank you all for making that a reality! This will be an exciting year!  The sky’s the limit!


With gratitude,



Meet Rebecca Mason, DPT, at Our Saratoga Clinic

 1. What made you want to enter the healthcare field?


Entering the healthcare field (and PT in particular) stemmed from a long bout of rehab surrounding an amputated leg as a teenager. I went from being bedridden to walking, hiking, and farming again — all thanks to PT. They gave me my independence back, and that’s something I want to now help give others.


2. What do you enjoy most about working with Sports PT?


I love the team-working atmosphere that places a strong emphasis on quality, ethical, evidence-based, and fun patient care.


3. What is your favorite piece of advice that you give your patients?


I always remind my patients to be mindful of “form fatigue”—if the form isn’t perfect, then take a rest. Also, keep up with your homework!


4. What is the most rewarding part of your job?


Getting to see my patients get back to what they love doing without pain!


If you’re in the Saratoga, NY, area and need to visit a physical therapist, you can contact Rebecca here.



Meet Alyssa Tallo, DPT, at Our Webster Clinic

What made you want to enter the healthcare field?


I wanted to work in a field that was active, fun, and one where I could really get to know people and change their lives while they changed mine.


What do you enjoy most about working with Sports PT?


Making memories with patients, and getting to know them while they get to know me. Having patients that will stop in and say hi even though they haven’t been treated in years makes it so special!


What is your favorite advice to give to patients?


Don’t be afraid to have fun. We know that you are in pain and taking time out of your day to be here, so I will do whatever I can do to make you smile so that you are not only getting better, but having fun doing it!


What is the most rewarding part of your job?


Seeing people return to whatever they love and knowing that we worked hard to get there!


If you’re in the Webster, NY area and need to visit a physical therapist, you can contact Alyssa here.


What’s The Difference Between a Physical Therapist and a Physical Therapist Assistant?

By: Lisa Gudlin, SPTA


You may have been in a physical therapy clinic that had both a physical therapist (PT) and a physical therapist assistant (PTA) helping you with your rehabilitation. You may have wondered, “What exactly is the difference between them?” Here is a brief explanation:


One of the major differences is the level of education. A PT will typically attend four years of undergraduate college and receive a Bachelor degree and then attend three years of graduate school. This allows a PT to earn their Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy, totaling seven years of schooling.


The PTA typically attends a two-year program at an undergraduate college and receives an Associate of Science degree. Even though a PTA program is relatively short, many science topics are covered: math, chemistry, physics, biology, anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and pathology. Thus, a PTA is very knowledgeable in how the body works, especially how muscles work and how to strengthen them. A PTA program also has a lot of hands-on training, including lab work in school and clinical experiences in various facilities, such as nursing homes, hospitals, private practices and school settings.


The PTA program prepares graduates to help a supervising PT carry out the plan of care for a client. The physical therapist assistant does not do the following: diagnose injuries, perform initial evaluations, create a plan of care (exercise plan) for a patient, or decide when the patient should stop coming to physical therapy. However, in many clinics, the PTA may be the main person involved with instructing patients in their exercises or performing manual techniques (e.g., stretching); the PTA will always keep an open line of communication with the supervising PT to keep him or her updated or to bring any changes to the PT’s attention.


Both PTs and PTAs are compassionate and caring health care providers, who always put patients first and strive to improve people’s lives through therapeutic exercise. Together, they are a highly effective team that can impact society for the better through knowledge, education, hard work and compassion.


For more information about physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, visit www.apta.org or www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pt.



Yoga for Everybody

By: Kayla Malmgren, SPTA


Yoga originated thousands of years ago and has become increasingly common in recent years. The practice of yoga, which in Sanskrit means “to unite,” balances the mind, body, and soul as it is said to unite the body with the universe. The diversity within the practice allows anyone  – regardless of age and lifestyle – to become an active participant and lead a more active, healthy lifestyle.


Most yoga practices combine breathing techniques (pranayama), physical postures (asanas), and meditation. With a variety of yoga styles, there are different routines for each skill level and always room for improvement, whether you are a beginner or have been practicing for years. This multidimensional practice has something for everyone, and a growing body of scientific research supports its benefits, including:


  • Improved balance and flexibility
  • Increased muscle tone and strength
  • Improved athletic performance with a decreased risk for injury
  • Reduced back pain and improved function


Yoga has been shown to have a down-regulating effect on the sympathetic nervous system, which helps to lower stress/depression and anxiety symptoms. Practicing yoga daily has been shown to lower blood sugar in patients with diabetes by physiologically affecting the uptake of insulin. Cardiopulmonary benefits include improved lung capacity, increased oxygen delivery, as well as decreased respiration rate and resting heart rate. All of these factors lead to improved endurance and cardiovascular fitness, which can reduce the risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. Yoga also has significant effects on subjective measures of pain, fatigue, and sleep in both health and ill populations. A comprehensive review of the effects of yoga compared to other forms of exercise concluded that yoga might be as effective as, or better than, other types of exercise with respect to improving a variety of health-related outcomes.


With so many benefits, each and every person has something to gain from giving this practice a try. A simple way to get started is to learn the Sun Salutation. This is a common yoga technique that anyone can practice and is a great way to get energized and start your day. Click here for a video to learn the basic Sun Salutation. You can also incorporate yoga into your daily routine at the office. Click this link to learn 15 simple and quick yoga moves that will take less than two minutes but can improve your posture and be used to help you de-stress during your workday.


Additionally, Sports PT Physical Therapists Amy Barbasch and Allison Scannapieco are now trained to instruct and assist patients with yoga poses. They are excited to announce that they will be offering safe and effective yoga classes in fall 2014 at Sports PT! Stay tuned for more information!


Sports PT is proud to invest in teaching and mentoring students of physical therapy throughout New York State. To learn more about the student experience, visit here.



Thomas, S., & Ross, A. The Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise: A Review of Comparison Studies. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16, 3-12

Different Types of Yoga. (n.d.). MindBodyGreen. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-68/Different-Types-of-Yoga.html

Yoga Journal: Office Yoga – Stress relief you can do at your desk.. (n.d.). Yoga Journal: Office Yoga. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://www.yogajournal.com/officeyoga/day1/

Sun Salutation. (n.d.). Fitness Magazine. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/videos/m/32072101/sun-salutation.htm

Health Benefits of Yoga Explain. (n.d.). Yoga Health Foundation. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://yogahealthfoundation.org/health_benefits_of_yoga_explained

Yoga for Health: Get the Facts. (2013, July 1). National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://nccam.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/Get_The_Facts_Yoga_for_Health_06-04-2013%20(2).pdf


Why We Chose The American Red Cross As Our Corporate Charity

By: Lynn Steenberg, President


Community involvement is as much a part of the Sports PT culture as therapeutic exercise! At Sports PT, we believe that we are responsible for helping make the world a better place. There is no better charity that helps in times of personal crisis or disaster than the American Red Cross. We know this first hand. Our staff across New York State immediately took action after Hurricanes Irene and Katrina by raising much needed funds to support the relief effort. When Super Storm Sandy hit our 15 downstate locations in 2012, devastating homes of our employees, patients and colleague healthcare professionals, our staff didn’t hesitate—we were once again connecting with the Red Cross. Our connections continued to hit closer to home. In late 2013, the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan. And, our employees with family who had been displaced due to the Typhoon immediately jumped to action to raise much-needed dollars. Shortly thereafter, upstate New York was hit with flooding.  Many vans were filled with cleaning supplies collected in our clinics. Then, one of our Sports PT employees experienced a house fire, resulting in the total loss of her home and displacement for over 4 months. We know the importance of the services of the American Red Cross. We have needed them numerous times.


It’s not enough for companies to raise funds and supplies. Volunteer engagement is also key. Our employees have volunteered at numerous Red Cross events and two members of our Executive Team currently serve in roles on a Chapter Board and a Regional Board. Providing leadership and guidance helps non-profits accomplish tasks they might not be able to afford on limited budgets. In addition, we hold blood drives in our clinics and do year-round fundraising. Every little bit helps.


With March being Red Cross Month, we encourage you to join us in supporting their efforts. Your gifts and talents help much-needed services like blood donation, emergency preparedness, resiliency, services to the Armed Forces, and disaster relief continue in our neighborhood, our state and across the globe. Clara Barton saw the need for the American Red Cross while she was providing medical care on a battlefield. We salute her efforts and continue her legacy in fulfilling these important services. Visit www.redcross.org to get involved!


The Value of Physical Therapy

By: The Sports PT Clinical Team


Attending the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in Las Vegas this February has made us reflect on the value that physical therapy provides for the future of healthcare and general quality of life. As physical therapists, we are excited to be engaging in such a vital role by improving patients’ overall function, naturally.


Physical therapists are doctors of movement and can effectively assess biomechanical challenges and movement patterns, as well as design a treatment plan to restore function. Hence, the greatest opportunity lies with seeing a physical therapist directly for those movement and pain-related injuries. This is called “Direct Access” in New York State, and it allows the community to seek a visit from a physical therapist without a referral (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pt/ptfaq.htm).


At a great seminar at CSM by a fellow physical therapist, Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, we were able to see a broad view on the value of physical therapy in this chaotic healthcare environment.


By 2020, there will be a shortage of 91,000 physicians in the U.S., creating the need for primary care movement specialists a need for our active population. This is a tremendous opportunity for physical therapists to serve the community and improve the efficiency in wait time and medical appointments.


In the age of social media and increased access to medical information on the internet, the general population represents a strong educated consumer. Copays, medical premiums, and deductibles are at an all-time high, and each health care visit is taken with tremendous scrutiny. Consumers of health care want value, convenience, and results.


Physical therapists are working hard to share more of their valuable information with the general public in an effort to help them understand the unique benefits of physical therapy. For years, physical therapists were jokingly referred to as “PT” – which stood for “pain and torture.” However, thanks to significant research contributions, doctoral degrees, and outstanding patient satisfaction, the profession has gained tremendous respect.


Physical therapists are now experts not only in movement, but also in areas such as manual (hands-on) therapies, concussions, vestibular (dizziness), and physical therapy during pregnancy.


To take a look at the value a physical therapist can provide you, please visit us at  www.sptny.com.


Distinguishing Between Physical Therapists and Personal Trainers in New York State

This is a question that we are frequently asked: What is the difference between a physical therapist and a personal trainer? Both professions are passionate about health and wellness, however there are distinct differences between the two. The information below provides a side-by-side comparison of the two professions.


Please email me at apokorski@sptny.com if you have any questions about this.  It is important that people are seeking the appropriate service and advice for their goals and/or condition.


Physical Therapists:


Licensing: Physical therapists are state board licensed health care professionals in the state in which they practice.


Education: Physical therapists graduate from an accredited college or university, most with Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. It is a 3-year program that follows undergraduate prerequisites.


Settings: Physical therapists work in a medical setting – often private practices and hospitals, and in short and long-term care settings. Physical therapists can evaluate a patient with or without a physician’s referral (a.k.a. Direct Access).


Area of expertise: Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of disability, injury, and disease are physical therapists’ specialties. They are skilled at a variety of techniques including exercise, manual techniques, and modalities to assist in the healing process. Physical therapists undergo significant coursework on anatomy and physiology of the human body. 


How would a physical therapist utilize a personal trainer? A physical therapist will often refer a patient to a personal trainer after that patient has successfully completed physical therapy following an injury or post-operative care. The personal trainer can guide the client through high-level, sport-specific training to create optimal performance in their chosen activities.

Personal Trainers:


Licensing: Personal trainers are not licensed. They hold a national certification through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) or ACE (the American Council on Exercise).


EducationMany personal trainers have a degree in exercise physiology, however a degree is not required.


SettingsMany personal trainers work in health club settings or are available for one-on-one exercise training or enhancement sessions.


Areas of expertise: A personal trainer is a fitness professional involved in exercise prescription and instruction. They motivate clients with goal setting, feedback, and hold clients accountable to their goals with measurements. Their training is often related to strength building, performance enhancement, or weight loss. Education on wellness, exercise, and general health is part of a personal trainer’s responsibility to their clients.


How would a personal trainer utilize a physical therapist? When a personal trainer sees an injury or pain that prevents full participation in an exercise program, then the personal trainer would refer that client to a physical therapist for diagnosis, rehabilitation and treatment of the injury. A personal trainer will also recommend a physical therapist for a client planning for post-operative rehabilitation.



Sports PT works with many health clubs across New York State to serve patients as they transition to daily fitness programs. Yesterday, we celebrated National Physical Therapy Month with our friends at The Buffalo Athletic Club in downtown Buffalo…




Earle, Roger (2004). NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training. NSCA Certification Commission. pp. 162, 617. ISBN 0-7360-0015-1.

New York Physical Therapy Association. http://www.physical-therapist-requirements.com/state-requirements/new-york.

New York State Education Department. http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pt/article136.htm.

American College of Sports Medicine. http://certification.acsm.org/.


Meet Owen Campbell


Sports PT is blessed to have many qualified leaders in its ranks. Katherine Graham once said, “To love what you do and feel that it matters…how could anything be more fun?” Owen Campbell, Assistant Facility Manager of our Union Square clinic, is a great example of someone who loves what he does and has fun doing it! His passion is contagious to his patients and staff.


After earning his BS in Clinical Science and MS and DPT degrees in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College, Owen joined Sports PT at our York Avenue clinic in Manhattan. He was promoted to Assistant Facility Manager in May 2012, and has recently assumed that role at our Union Square clinic. Owen has orthopedic experience with sports injuries as well as lower extremities (hip, knee, ankle and foot). He is currently studying for his Orthopedic Clinical Specialist certification.


When asked about the Union Square clinic, Owen describes it as a family… “you’ll feel like you’re entering a home when you come in.” There is a very welcoming atmosphere that encourages and empowers patients to heal. There is a high clinical standard, where evidence-based treatment is used for every patient. Owen says, “our entire team – patient service coordinators and clinicians – are focused on patients first. Our goal is to return patients to their pre-injury quality of life as effectively and carefully as possible.”


Owen says the best thing about working at Sports PT is opportunity. He describes the environment as one that allows people to make whatever they want of their career. “If you’re ambitious and driven, there is great opportunity here.” In addition, Owen raves about the educational opportunities here – clinicians get access to and are mentored by seasoned clinicians, attend educational classes, participate in study groups, and can move up in management if they desire.


Owen gives the following advice to people: Exercise! “Make sure that physical activity is an intentional part of your day. Don’t skip on the weights! Do some resistance exercises (easy leg presses) to keep your body fat down and make sure you’re stable and have healthy body mechanics.”


You can reach Owen at 212-677-3989 or ocampbell@sptny.com. Read more about Owen in his personal bio here.