Thursday, April 18, 2024

Pa PT Ka?

By Sarah Madison Repollo | February 29, 2024

Under the blazing heat of the afternoon sun, a game rages on at the heart of the Cimafranca Ballfield. There’s a feint, a kick, and a dive—all athletes desperate for that final matchpoint. A flurry of jerseys race towards the goalpost, ready to defend or go on the offensive—when finally, a resounding whistle rings through the field. A victor has been decided. The winning team drowns out the announcer’s voice with their cheers as they throw their team captain atop their shoulders. 

When the screams die down and the hype follows suit, a familiar soreness seeps into the athletes’ bodies. Some make their way for their bags, others rush to the Red Cross volunteers, but some hobble over to the side of the venue—straight for the booth manned by the Institute of Rehabilitative Sciences.

Free PT services

Beginning April 2023, during the first Intramurals since the pandemic, fourth-year Sillimanians majoring in physical therapy have spent the last two sports fests stationed at the Cimafranca and Ravello Ballfields. They spend the week attending to athletes of all kinds, both managing existing injuries and working on preventing any more from occurring—free of charge, except for when they avail for taping. In a mere two days, the students’ tired hands have worked on over a hundred clients at the Cimafranca location since the 2024 games’ commencement earlier this week.

At their main station, the PT booth typically deals with injuries incurred during soccer games. As mentioned by Ms. Roselle Felisilda, a registered physical therapist overseeing the fourth years, soccer tends to have higher incidence rates of physical injuries—the most common ones including hamstring concerns, quad problems, and knee issues. 

With the intramurals having such a high-risk sport on the roster, it’s only expected that both the Red Cross and the PT booths are on high alert during games like this. But aside from the influx of injuries they must treat, the desire to promote their course drove the department to start offering these services. In the words of Felisilda, “We want to show that our abilities extend beyond the clinic, we can also handle athletes—it’s (physical therapy) a big field after all.”

Through stretching exercises, taping, and many more services, the PT students get to practice their diverse skills on real-life patients, while simultaneously getting graded on their work by attending physical therapists at the booth. After all, their performance throughout the duration of the intramurals serves as a defining part of their internship as seniors.

Despite the entire experience being graded, there’s a certain passion in every massage, stretch, and warm word of advice to the student athletes. The players lay sprawled out on mats, while the interns roll over their hamstrings, gently reminding them of the importance of warm-ups and cooldowns so as to avoid further injuries. Even as another match starts, and the crowds begin to scream again, the PT students’ laser focus never wavers from their clients.

Future plans

The free PT services are a relatively novel undertaking, but in just a year, they have brought about a myriad of benefits for both the student athletes and interns. The fourth years gain a wealth of knowledge and experience under their belts, while the players get a cost-efficient way to stay in tip-top shape—providing a surefire method of bringing home a trophy or two. With the immense success of this endeavor, Felisilda added that they hope to continue providing these services, almost completely ensuring the PT booth’s reappearance in the incoming 2025 Intramurals. 

Come next year, when the cheers begin again and academics take second place in the hearts and minds of the students, there will always be a safe space for the athletes at the side of the Cimafranca Ballfield—at the booth manned by the Institute of Rehabilitative Sciences.

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