My name is Katy, and I am a graduate student in media studies here at CU, working on starting my own disability support network: Cerebral Palsy Strong. As someone with cerebral palsy, I have naturally tight muscles and limited movement on the left side of my body due to a brain injury at birth.
For the past two years, I've worn a kinetic orthosis leg brace called the ExoSym. While I have had a lot of success with the ExoSym in improving the way that I walk, I still have to remind myself that I have a disability and need to care for my body more than most young people. I feel lucky to have the support of those at Physical Therapy and Integrative Care (PTIC) on campus who are there to help with my physical goals and general body-maintenance.
Coming to CU, I didn’t think I would have access to such an amazing team of physical therapists. Last year, I began seeing Winter Ball, who helped me work on identifying some exercises to help improve my gait and ankle mobility. Never before had someone worked with me so thoughtfully or creatively on strengthening and relieving tension in my ankle. A few months later, at his recommendation, I began to take a series of mat pilates classes with Lisa Metrick. Metrick helped me understand how to engage my core more intentionally in all activities, and has continued to help me explore better ways to adapt certain movements to my body's limitations.
Most recently, Metrick was an integral part of my training program for a long endurance race this past November with the Project Athena Foundation, an organization for women who experience medical setbacks. She gave me tools and positioning recommendations to help me more comfortably kayak more than 30 miles through the Florida Keys and bike the remaining 90 miles to Key West! Without her help, I would have struggled, as participants would often sit in their kayaks and paddle for hours at a time.
Over the years, I’ve realized physical therapy is very much about adapting and solving problems around my body’s capacity for movement and flexibility. Physical therapy is about working with what my body can do, not fighting against what it cannot. Surely physical therapy is about healing and recovery, but for anyone with a physical disability—it is more about creating realistic ways to move toward wellness and away from pain and illness on a daily basis.
Physical therapy services for graduate students
Is an old knee injury getting in the way of your walk across campus? Do you experience neck or back pain after working on your dissertation? Physical therapy providers at Medical Services can help! Our skilled providers can address a variety of physical concerns to help you regain the physical vigor you want. CU Boulder offers direct access care, meaning you can schedule an appointment without a referral from your primary care doctor!