Central Oregon is home to many athletes, including those who are aspiring, professional or retired. It is also home to people who enjoy being active and staying fit for health.

When most people think of physical therapy, they think about the treatment of injuries. While that encompasses much of what a physical therapist does on a day to day basis, they also help patients build strength and mobility for injury prevention. Many of today’s athletes are choosing to incorporate physical therapy into their training program. They are using it as a way to excel in their favorite sports while minimizing the risk of injury.

Read how physical therapy is transforming sports performance through the lens of professional cyclist and local, Parley Ford.

How has physical therapy (PT) helped you in bike racing?

I could not be racing at the level that I am without PT. Progression is impossible without taking a few risks. Physical Therapy helps me to maintain a properly functioning body as well as train, build, and improve. The most significant thing that physical therapy has given to me has been the tools to maintain and recover and take care of my body on my own. I have the tools to take care of my muscles, joints, bones, and vestibular plane. I can take these tools with me as I compete around the Pacific Northwest.

How and when do you use PT to excel in your sport?

Before any event, competitive or not, I have a consistent routine that allows me to maximize my body’s potential. I use a stretching routine designed just for me by my physical therapists. This includes a full stretch of my shoulders, back, hips, hamstrings, and eyes. The eyes are the most important thing for me to warm up. This allows me to read trail better and minimize the risk I take. I use these routines before and after any workout I do. I check in with my physical therapists usually about twice a month to keep my body consistently operating the best it can and to update my routines. I regularly have new injuries to be treated, but I mainly use PT for injury prevention.

What is your advice for aspiring athletes?

As a professional athlete, the biggest thing that I focus on is my mental state. Remaining positive and focused is vital. Even if a race or event does not go your way, take it as an opportunity to learn and improve. Your results are up to you, and you alone. Be happy, learn, grow, and come back to the next opportunity ready to accomplish all your goals.

If you are interested in learning more about physical therapy for sports performance and injury prevention, visit our website by clicking here.