For physical therapist Andy Emerson, relating with a diverse patient population is a bright spot of his job. “Connecting with patients and getting them better — that’s the fun part,” said Emerson, who has worked as Rebound’s La Pine Clinic Manager for eight years. “It’s a laid-back, warm and welcoming environment,” noted Emerson of the clinic.
With a population of roughly 2,000 people, La Pine serves as a hub of services for more rural neighboring communities; some patients commute more than an hour each way to receive care at Rebound’s La Pine clinic. The clinic also sees many local residents, including high school athletes.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emerson volunteered once a week in La Pine High School’s training room, working closely with the school’s athletic trainer. He also volunteered alongside the athletic trainer at La Pine’s home football games. As a result, the student-athletes “had a relationship with a physical therapist and could come into the clinic for more one-on-one training, rehab or post-surgical care if needed,” said Emerson, who has worked as a PT for almost 20 years.
When student-athletes do receive treatment at Rebound, they bring “an energy into the clinic” that can serve as motivation for other patients, noted Emerson. “The older patients see the younger patients working out … it’s nice to get that mix of ages.”
Like other Rebound therapists, Emerson treats a wide range of conditions; he is board certified in orthopedic physical therapy (OCS) and has advanced training in manual therapy. Emerson is currently working toward becoming a Therapeutic Pain Specialist (TPS), a specialized certification to treat and educate patients living with chronic pain.
Emerson said he finds gratification in both of his roles as a therapist and La Pine’s Clinic Manager; he draws on his leadership experience when working with colleagues and community members. “I enjoy being a part of molding the clinic into something successful.”