Katherine LoChiatto is a senior on the UGA Equestrian team. She is majoring in Athletic Training and had the opportunity to participate in an internship with East Athens Physical Therapy during the summer of 2016.
As a Division I athlete, it can be hard to gain outside experience required in the field of physical therapy during the school year. However, the practicums, labs and clinical exposure that I have taken at UGA as well as the opportunities provided by the Leadership Grant gave me the necessary resources to succeed. The grant enabled me to work as a physical therapy tech at East Athens Physical Therapy over the summer. Not only was I able to push myself out of my comfort zone working as a tech, I was able to incorporate skills I learned in class as well as clinical in a real physical therapy setting. My experience made me excited to continue to pursue my goals in becoming a physical therapist.
My role at the clinic involved helping patients with exercises, keeping the clinic clean and organized in addition to helping the therapists when needed. A typical day involved opening the clinic and preparing it for the day such as starting the whirlpool, folding any laundry from the previous day and getting the rehabilitation sheets in order. My job included bringing patients back and either teaching them new exercises or helping them begin their rehab program.
My time as a student- athlete prepared me in more ways for my future career than I could have ever imagined. Everything I learned to value as a student-athlete, transferred to working every day in the clinic. Being punctual, organized and having communication skills proved to be vital in making the day run smoother. I have uniquely been able to balance both life as a collegiate athlete with workouts, practices and meets as well as fitting in athletic training clinical hours. None of this would have been possible without the support from my coaches, professors and the sports medicine staff. For this, I am forever grateful for the support and opportunities that the Athletic Association at Georgia has and continues to provide.