Middle Park Health PT to travel with Paralympic athletes this winter
Over the next few months Middle Park Health physical therapist Sarah Tey will travel to Finland, Austria and China to assist Paralympic athletes from two teams in international competitions and the 2022 Beijing Paralympics.
Tey, who has been with Middle Park Health for two years, said she got into physical therapy after volunteering and coaching adaptive skiing and riding at the National Sports Center for the Disabled at Winter Park Resort.
With her background in adaptive sports and physical therapy, the US Paralympic Snowboarding team asked Tey to accompany six athletes to international qualifying competitions in Austria and Finland this month.
“I’m super thankful for the opportunity,” Tey said. “I really love adaptive sports, it’s so rewarding and really cool to watch (the athletes) excel.”
In addition, Tey will travel with the Israeli Alpine Skiing Team to Beijing, China for the 2022 Paralympics in March.
As the athletes’ physical therapist, Tey will monitor them during practice, analyze movements, strengthen muscles and focus on preventative practices.
“PT for an athlete, especially when they’re on the road, is more about making sure they’re in-tune with their body and as ready to compete at the highest level possible,” she said. “I’m more there for support.”
Tey said she’s most excited for the experience of working with professional athletes, becoming part of the team and focusing on sports medicine.
“It’s always been my goal to be able to be outdoors doing what I love and helping other people follow that passion, whether through physical therapy or helping them learn, it’s really cool that those are meshing together now,” Tey said.
She hopes to progress in her field and bring back that education to Grand County.
Middle Park Health Community Relations and Marketing Tiffany Freitag echoed Tey in saying that having a physical therapist get the unique experience of working with Paralympic athletes will be a benefit to the hospital.
“I think it speaks volumes to the level of therapists we have working here at Middle Park because this experience is super unique,” Freitag said.
Middle Park Medical Foundation contributed financial support to help Tey cover the costs of her trips and being off work.
In addition to the money, Tey said Middle Park Health has helped prepare in other ways. She constantly has to be ready for anything since her patients often have diverse needs and range across the age and ability spectrum.
“We have to be so flexible and adaptable here, so it’s been really cool to gain confidence as a PT being able to treat a variety of things,” she said.
Tey plans to post updates throughout her travels to Middle Park Health’s social media pages to share her experience as it happens.
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