First Responder for a Day – PRO Medical Physical Therapy

Written by: Kate Griffith, DPT – PRO Medical Physical Therapist

The hallway was filled with smoke. I crawled on my hands and knees, feeling my way to the baby’s room as I tried not to lose my way. Weighed down with 75 lbs. of gear, every movement was an effort. However, with the clock ticking away, I knew I didn’t have any time to lose. But, when I finally got there, there was no baby to be found.

Fortunately, there never was! I was participating in a simulation.

This past spring, PRO Medical Physical Therapy teamed with Tactical Athlete Health & Performance Institute for a full day of training in the strenuous work that first responders do every day.

One moment we were pulling a heavy hose upstairs to douse a fire. The next, we were using the 50 lb. Jaws of Life rescue tool to remove a car door at an accident scene. Yet another involved jumping from an armored SWAT vehicle, knocking down a door, and storming into a building to stop an imaginary shooter.

As physical therapists, we work hard to help our patients return to their jobs and hobbies without any limitations after injury. Some patients need to tolerate sitting without back pain as they work at a computer all day. For others, such as a policeman, it may be tackling and restraining a 250 lb. suspect on the run. In either case, the more we know about our patient’s job, the better we can tailor the type and intensity of the rehab so they can return to it.

Like many PRO Club members, in either their jobs, recreation, or sports, first responders are athletes. With the knowledge we gained from walking (and running, jumping and crawling) a day in their shoes, PRO Medical Physical Therapists have a better understanding of how to deliver optimal care for optimal recovery.

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