Avoiding Injury Isn’t About Luck

RVNAhealth Physical therapist Kate Campbell helps a young athlete with back pain

RVNAhealth Physical Therapist Kate Campbell helps a young golfer address back pain.

The flip of a light switch may have determined Kate Campbell’s career trajectory. At sixteen, Campbell was a competitive gymnast and was severely injured, introducing her to the merits of physical therapy. Kate recalls sitting with an ice pack on her knee watching physical therapists in matching polo shirts helping patients on various exercise machines when an older gentleman flipping a nearby light switch caught her eye.

Up, on; down, off. Up, on; down, off. Up, on; down, off.

Campbell realized that the man was re-learning this most basic task so he could return to independent life as he once knew it. Something that many of us take for granted, turning a light on or off, was the focus of his intense effort that day; Campbell was hooked. “Watching him flipping that switch up and down…it was like my own switch went off. I knew I wanted to spend my life helping people just like him.”

And help them, she does.

Kate Campbell is a Physical Therapist with RVNAhealth focusing on comprehensive sports injury therapy and prevention education and programming where she applies a comprehensive approach to healing. A triathlete and accomplished life-long athlete, Campbell believes fervently in injury-prevention education. Most recently, she began offering running evaluations to assess individual strength, mechanics, flexibility and foot and shoe analysis for runners of all experience levels. “Avoiding injury isn’t about luck,” Campbell says, “it’s about understanding how injuries happen.”

When they do, Campbell takes a thorough approach designed to prevent patient hospitalization and restore activity as soon as safely possible with full range of motion restoration. Functional therapy, Campbell calls it, addresses all aspects of recovery including the secondary systems that are affected. “When developing a treatment plan,” Campbell says, “I watch how a patient moves in entirety to identify comprehensive areas of concern. It’s important to consider the systemic connections when approaching healing. If someone has spinal surgery, physical therapy must consider how the spine interacts with other parts of the body to ensure it’s all supported. Ultimately, I want to get people back to doing what they love to do.” Because Campbell supports all facets of the RVNAhealth portfolio, she works with patients of all ages—from the youngest golf students at Golf Performance Center to senior hospice patients grappling with weaknesses impacting their quality of life.

Ultimately, the goal for Campbell is to manage her own specialized discipline under the RVNAhealth umbrella to serve a different clientele. “I want to bring my expertise to athletes who are hungry for high-quality care, in a specialized and sophisticated environment married with all of the resources and support that RVNAhealth can give,” Campbell says.

 Her tenured Physical Therapy career has not been without obstacles, all of which Campbell overcame to become one of only five women in Connecticut board-certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) in Sports Physical Therapy. College advisors discouraged her focus because of saturation in the profession, but she was not dissuaded. “I figured if other students were getting the same advice and changed paths then I would be one of the few graduating with the degree and by the time I was twenty-three, I had earned my Doctorate.”

The journey has been worth it. Of many noteworthy patients, one Ridgefield resident is particularly memorable. The geriatric patient was never going to walk normally again due to a rare kidney disease causing chronic inflammation. The woman loved walking for exercise and when her grandson got engaged, she decided she wanted to walk down the aisle as a surprise to the family. Campbell worked with her on this goal, and even secretly measured the length of the aisle to make sure they practiced it. “We got the best video of her standing up from her wheelchair and walking down the aisle with her rollator [a mobility aid on wheels] and her grandson. Those proud moments remind me why I do what I do.”

About Kate Campbell
Kate Campbell is board-certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) in Sports Physical Therapy, one of only approximately two dozen holding the designation statewide. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Connecticut Physical Therapy Association. Within APTA, Kate is active in the Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Sports Physical Therapy, and Geriatric Physical Therapy sections, focusing on such special interest groups as: Golf and Golf Performance; Sports Performance Enhancement; Female Athlete; Running; Youth Athlete; Professional/Collegiate Therapist; Balance and Falls; Bone Health, Health Promotion and Wellness. She is a Sportsmetrics™ trainer (a program designed to teach female athletes proper biomechanics to avoid ACL injuries) and is certified in the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy. Since 2008, Campbell has specialized in fabricating custom foot orthotics, evaluating and casting patient’s feet through Stride™ Orthotics. Kate Campbell holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Delaware, where she earned her undergraduate degree in exercise physiology with a double minor in strength & conditioning and biology. A Ridgefield resident, she enjoys golfing with her family, running, training for, and competing in triathlons, and spending time with her three young daughters.

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