OrthoIllinois gives students a chance to learn about careers in sports medicine

Education Matters

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Boylan senior Dylan Coffey has always loved sports. So much so, he’s planning to pursue a sports related career.

“Freshman year, I was really interested in finding my career and I wanted to figure out what I wanted to do,” he said. “So, I went to the athletic trainer after school and I asked if I could shadow him for football games and soccer games.”

Dylan and several other local high school students recently took part in a special Rehab Explorer Program on January 12th, hosted by OrthoIllinois, at 5875 E Riverside Blvd.

Students learned about careers in the highly competitive field of physical therapy.

“[We gave] them tips about the application process and some ideas about the programs themselves, about what they might be signing up for in school, what their clinical rotations and the challenges they might see in their programs,” said physical therapist assistant Heather Riley.

Physical therapist Jon Gallas said, “There’s a lot of different areas of physical therapy where you can specialize in, so if you have a certain specific interest, you can kind of tailor it toward your specific interest.”

The Explorer program allowed kids to take part in exercises and therapies typically used.

“We’re in a clinic with people that help everyday, in a clinic. It’s just a great experience to be in here, see all the exercises they do, use the equipment, be hands on with it,” said Dylan.

In addition to learning about school admission requirements, education and salary ranges, experts shared why they find their jobs so fulfilling.

“It’s rewarding to be able to take somebody who has some type of injury and get them back to doing a specific activity they enjoy, like running or getting them back to be able to perform their regular work duties at their job, to help them do those things they enjoy doing,” Gallas said.

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