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Victory for relay team treated by therapists

After a challenging season that saw two team members out with injuries for multiple weeks, the Osborne County High School girls' team took first place in the 4 x 800 relay at the state track meet this year. Runners Ryah Bertuccelli and Addison Poore suffered injuries earlier in the season and sought advice and care from Osborne County Memorial Hospital's physical therapy team to get back to running.

Bertuccelli strained a tendon in her ankle, and after other methods didn’t resolve her pain, she decided to see a doctor, who referred her to physical therapy.

Aaron Geist, OCMH's physical therapist and department manager, noted that Bertuccelli's symptoms were severe enough to interfere with her training performance. 

"In physical therapy, we performed several joint manipulations and soft tissue techniques to improve the joint mechanics of the foot/ankle and decrease the pain she was experiencing," Geist said. "Combining this with some guided exercise, Ryah could practice and compete at a high level within two weeks."

During the process, Bertuccelli missed two meets, but with help from Geist and others on the physical therapy team at OCMH, she returned to the track for the league, regional and state track meets.

"After physical therapy, any sharp pain was gone, and by the end of my sessions, my pain was gone almost entirely," Bertuccelli said.

Poore's recovery was longer. She strained her hamstring right before her second meet of the season. Eager to return, she saw a chiropractor for three weeks and felt progress so tried out her leg at the next meet.

"I felt pretty good after the first meet back, so I ran in the next meet too," Poore said. "I started feeling a pull behind my kneecap and was concerned the hamstring might be pulling away from the bone."

After an MRI, Poore decided to try physical therapy.

Poore's recurring hamstring strain and knee symptoms, combined with her goal to compete for as much of the season as possible, made the situation challenging. 

"Injuries like this require time to heal, and we had to race against that healing timeline to get her competition ready," Geist said. "We combined soft tissue techniques, dry needling, and an exercise routine to decrease neural sensitivity to her leg and quicken her recovery. Within two to three weeks, Addison was competing at a high level again."

Poore returned to the team after missing most of her season due to injury.

The team achieved its goal, ending the season on top at the highest level of competition. Both Bertuccelli and Poore credit the physical therapy department at OCMH for helping realize the team's win.

"The therapists know what they're doing," Bertuccelli said. "When they say rest, it's important to rest and make sure you get healed up before competing again."

Geist and his team are eager to help athletes at all levels reach optimum health for competition and enjoyment of an activity. The team has experience in many types of sports and injuries. Geist recommends seeking help early for the best outcome.

"The human body is incredibly resilient—especially in young athletes—and sometimes just needs the right combination of interventions to get back on track," Geist said. "Physical therapy treatment can often provide that. We love to help our area athletes perform at a high level and enjoy seeing them compete."

The girls were focused on their goal of winning and took the necessary steps to make the dream come true for their team.

"It was an amazing feeling," Poore said. "I was the last leg and got the baton well before the other teams. I watched myself on the jumbotron and still had a big lead on the other teams. It was an honor to run with the girls on my team."

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