SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Olympic Physical Therapy is strengthening the community, a mission it is well on its way to accomplishing as it provides programs for all ages and skill levels.
Bert Reid and Don Levine met years before while earning their Master’s degrees at the University of Rhode Island. After working in private practice, in 2000, Reid and Levine decided to team up and open up Olympic Physical Therapy in Middletown. By 2008, Olympic Physical Therapy branched out to Wakefield and Bristol. The practice now operates out of five locations, including Tiverton and Warren.
After graduating URI in 2003, Guerrino Boni, the manager at the Wakefield location, 730 Kingstown Road, also joined the physical therapy team.
Now, 12 years after first opening, the physical therapy office has become a staple in the South County Community – providing outreach to high school athletes, young children and those looking for a functional fast paced workout.
During the summer and pre-season workouts, football and soccer players from Narragansett, South Kingstown and North Kingstown high schools can train with the physical therapists to learn injury prevention and functional work before their seasons start in the fall. The programs are based on power, speed and agility but are specific to each sport.
“We started this because of all the injuries. Coaches came to us asking if we had a program,” Boni said.
Since they started the summer program, Levine said coaches said they saw both a measurable reduction in injuries but also a noticeable increase in speed and sports agility that reduced the amount of injuries.
The Olympic Physical Therapists also reach out to kids in the community during the summer’s Power of Play, a free program in partnership with the YMCA that teaches kids how to move and have fun.
“Power of Play focuses on kids,” Reid said. “It challenges kids individually, but makes playing more fun. It focuses on how we can help kids feel better about their athletic ability, and to encourage and self-motivate them. The net result is that they immediately ask for more or always want to come back and play again.”
The program gives kids the confidence to do sports and find out what they are good at. It began as a program to address the rapid increase in this generation’s childhood obesity problem along with depression, diabetes and even childhood suicide. Now in its fifth year, other organizations have signed on to host Power of Play events at field days and church picnics – targeting children with anxiety or obesity.
While the free summer programs offer an outlet for children, Olympic Physical Therapy also provides functional workouts three nights a week for adults. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, athletes of all levels can take the Olympic Challenge, while on Wednesdays, a slightly tougher version, they can kick it into “High Gear.” In these classes, which are held at the Wakefield office, people can work out with medicine balls, bands and equipment throughout the office. The station-based workouts are never the same and apply three planes of motion in a fun and functional way.
“It’s the opposite of the ‘Boot Camp’ basis. In these classes everyone can do very well, it’s a lot more fun, you get your sweat and you don’t get beat up” said Krista Reid, one of the instructors. “All of the moves are designed by P.T.’s and personal trainers.”
Another valuable division of their office is the foot orthotic and running shoe fitting service. A free biomechanical evaluation by their staff Pedorthist, Bill Michonski, leads to finding the right shoe for everyone’s foot. Olympic Physical Therapy has a 97 percent success rate on its foot orthotics, Reid said. Reid has made foot orthotics for Olympic Medalists, professional golfers and tennis players, marathon champions, sub-four-minute milers.
The physical therapists help the young and the old – working with the older population as local senior centers. This has become increasingly important as the baby boomers age.
Every month the doctors of physical therapy pick a cause and tie it to a local community program. Since May is dedicated to active older adults and arthritis awareness, the therapists will devote time at the senior center, teaching older adults balance programs.
Not only do the therapists practice their mission in the community, they also take it to heart in the office, employing many URI graduates like Boni. Three new graduates are set to begin their careers with Olympic this summer.
“If we can keep URI graduates here, that’s good. With the economic environment the way it is, it’s great we can be adding jobs,” Levine said.
While other physical therapy practices may struggle, Olympic Physical Therapy is thriving as a result of its community outreach.
“We are sharing our knowledge and spreading functional movement. Our motto is strengthening our communities and we try to live up to it,” Levine said. “The community is what makes us successful.”