Welcome to the #LifeCantWait Blog, SPEAR Physical Therapy’s official stream for fitness tips, exercise advice, and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Our articles and features are written by our physical therapists and staff members with your progress in mind. Designed to educate and motivate, SPEAR’s #LifeCantWait Blog exists to share your stories and help you get back to life! Disclaimer
Six years ago, during a game, Kristen Markoe was dodging a trap at half court when she heard a sharp pop and felt her knee give out. Her left ACL had torn. She was out for the season and would require reconstructive surgery. But her experience of being sidelined and undergoing extensive physical therapy would go on to inspire her to become a physical therapist and coach who is dedicated to helping other athletes not only recover physically and mentally, but also focus on injury prevention.
As part of the Hunter College Women’s Basketball team, Kristen was a star player and team captain who broke numerous records, becoming the first player at Hunter ever to record over 1,000 rebounds and earning the second all-time career points in women’s basketball. She was named CUNYAC Rookie of the Year and then Player of the Year three times. Now an Assistant Coach, Kristen remains heavily involved in developing the team’s conditioning program, emphasizing proper warm-up body mechanics and strength/agility/stamina workouts to improve performance. Have a seemingly inexplicable pain? Coach Kristen’s the first point of reference. Don’t have access to the department’s PT/conditioning staff during off-season? Coach Kristen’s door is always open.
This October, she hosted her third injury prevention screening for Hunter’s basketball teams, focusing on familiar foe and the number one culprit for sidelines: ACL injuries. Rallying over 15 SPEAR Therapist and Tech volunteers, Kristen designed eight stations for over 20 participating players to provide assessments that were unique both to each player and their athletic goals. Players were able to get direct feedback on their leg stability/ROM, landing control, push-off and landing, running/cutting mechanics, and more. Throughout the event Coach Kristen poked, prodded, demonstrated, and encouraged before sending each student home with an individualized exercise program to help them work on any weaknesses and avoid potential injuries.
Having organized the event a couple times now, Kristen says she’s gotten to learn and improve a lot. When first bringing up the idea to her SPEAR director, Joe Costello, last year, it was just an idea, something she’d tried as a PT student. But by the end of her meeting, “Joe was giving me deadlines to make things happen.” There were people to coordinate with, spaces to reserve, clinical exercises to design, materials to gather. Before she knew it, Kristen’s passion for bringing physical therapy to student athletes before they’re injured, and the experiences that allowed her to empathize with her team, turned her into a SPEAR leader.
In addition to providing SPEAR the opportunity to connect with more patient athletes, Kristen says these injury prevention screenings also “allow [therapists] to hone skills in movement assessment at high levels of athleticism.” Not only do these outreach efforts provide us with opportunities to connect with our communities, but they also help us develop as healthcare providers.
When asked about her next goals, Kristen says, “I am definitely looking to hold a screening for other teams at Hunter College—the women’s volleyball team, men and women’s fencing team, and men’s soccer team coaches have reached out with interest. Within SPEAR I am interested in becoming Assistant Clinical Director.” On November 6th, it was announced that Kristen Markoe would be promoted to Assistant Clinical Director of our W 57th clinic.
Thank you to all the Hunter College basketball students who joined us at Kristen’s ACL injury prevention screening–stay safe!
We’re really proud of the team we’ve cultivated and built here at SPEAR. Our teammates are truly aligned with the core mission of the organization and lead their lives with purpose and intent.
Sarah Lloyd, PT, DPT and the Clinical Education Liason at our W 44th St clinic, is a shining example of that purpose. Sarah truly enjoys treating a diverse patient population, with the goal of educating and empowering patients through functional movement. She is dedicated to the pursuits she is passionate about: helping patients get back to life, and spending time playing the sport she loves. Sarah is an active professional lacrosse player and currently plays for the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League for the WPLL Command. The team spent their summer season this year competing at games from Virginia, all the way up to Massachusetts!
Sarah started playing lacrosse at age 8 and has carried a great love for the sport ever since. Her collegiate career began at Princeton University, competing as a varsity lacrosse player and serving as Captain during her senior year. She was later drafted by her current team. “I love it because it lets me play the game at a very high level with the absolute best players in the world, but I can still be a physical therapist during the week!” she shares. Sarah has always been an athlete—her first introduction to physical therapy was actually after injuring her ankle playing soccer in high school! She has spent much of her time working with adolescent and collegiate athletes, as well as athletes training for the NFL combine.
While Sarah has a true passion for lacrosse, she also loves that the WPLL is tied to a mission—the league has a WPLL Futures division, which provides clinics and opportunities for middle school and high school lacrosse players, designed to support the growth of girls and women to excel in life. “One of the best parts of being a part of this league is that we get to help with clinics and mold the future of girls lacrosse moving forward,” Sarah says. “We are able to be role models for younger girls to look up to in our sport, something we ourselves did not have while growing up.”
It’s amazing to see our team members so passionate about helping others, through many different avenues. We believe it’s important to always remember our core values in everything we do—Sarah, keep up that incredible SPEAR-IT!
Watch Manek and Damien’s Full Inspirational Story Below:
Manek Mathur and Damien Mudge are professional squash players, top champions, and the ultimate tag team pair! Considered two of the nation’s top squash players, Damien and Manek are no strangers to pushing their bodies to the limit. The dynamic duo has been receiving physical therapy treatment from our very own Dave Endres, PT, MS—with his expert guidance, these partners have been able to get back to life (and back out on the court) quickly and safely.
Watch as Damien and Manek tell their story!
Full Transcript Below:
Manek Mathur: My name is Manek Mathur. I’m 31 years of age, and I’m a professional squash player.
Damien Mudge: I’m Damian Mudge. I’m 42 and a professional squash player. So Dave Endres, he was actually an assistant squash player at the racket tennis club where Manek works.
Manek Mathur: Dave and SPEAR, the reputation speaks for itself. I think everybody that he’s treated so far speaks very highly of him and always has significant results; and squash communities, are very small and very close knit. And when someone makes such an impact in someone’s life and in someone’s performance, everybody knows about it pretty quick. Dave is one of those guys that has a massive influence on all of us and puts us back on the court a lot quicker.
Damien Mudge: Yeah, I think, as Manek said, Dave’s so proficient and understands the bodies so well that the results that you get are much faster than I think you would normally do.
Manek Mathur: Since he is a squash player, he understands the intensity that the sport requires. He understands how these issues come about, and how to fix them, and how to work with us through them. I think this speaks highly of Dave. I think he such an approachable, friendly individual that when you come and see him for treatment, it starts off as a professional client kind of relationship. But he does such a great job about loosening you as a client to make you feel more comfortable. And like Damien, I think it started off as a very professional relationship with him, and now I can say he’s a very good friend and I just appreciate his input and his advice in my life. Whether I’m in the clinic or not, he’s always guiding me towards certain things that I’m doing with my body and what I can be doing better to enhance my performance.
Damien Mudge: There’s obviously a lot of PT places around, a lot of different clinics around, but the environment which has been created here—it’s obviously a very professional environment, but it’s also a very friendly, very open and very good-feeling environment. Plus they obviously know their work as well.
Manek Mathur: I think coming into a physical therapy clinic, a lot of people are hesitant, a lot of people are nervous. But I think when you look around in here, when you’re getting treatment or even now, everybody’s got a little bit of a smile on their face. And I think that starts from the top and starts from the PTs here. I think everybody has a great energy about themselves and what they do and they clearly have a passion for what they do. That transfers down all the way to the clients, it’s impressive.
Damien Mudge: It’s a pretty impressive thing to be starting a business and having a business going on for two decades and it continually growing as it is. It just sort of shows what kind of business they run here and just the evolution that they’re having with it. I think it’s absolutely fantastic.
Manek Mathur: It speaks very high volumes of the quality of service that is given here at SPEAR. It would be hard to survive for 20 years and constantly keep opening clinics if the practice wasn’t was as good as it is.
Damien Mudge: I think it’s kind of cool to see the evolution of SPEAR, but in particular, the evolution of people involved with squash through SPEAR. Definitely the past five years has probably been an influx of maybe five times the amount of squash people or university club members, or our team members which have come in here, which is pretty cool to see. Most times when we walk in the door we either see each other and other pros, or we see other members of the R&T or the union club. And that’s really quite cool, right? That’s all word-of-mouth stuff and it just makes it just that much more friendly, with familiar faces going on.
Manek Mathur: Yeah, I think the presence that SPEAR and Dave has in the squash community is second-to-none. Right from the pro level to our members. And then recently, SPEAR was the sponsor of the Tournament of Champions, which is pretty incredible to see Dave working with the best current players on the tour right now. And, and even these guys who travel the world and are exposed to the best PTs across the globe, speak so highly of this practice. And all the PTs that have been here, they’re constantly exposed to new technologies to work on certain things. Each one of them was very impressed by SPEAR—I think that’s commendable.
This brand new location is easily accessible for both commuters and locals, and in close proximity of the Metro-North Commuter Rail, Westchester Bee-Line Bus Service, Taconic State Parkway, Saw Mill River Parkway, and Routes 141 and 117, helping us make an impact on more New Yorkers than ever before. Now, Pleasantville residents and commuters will have access to physical therapy from the nation’s top private practice—without having to travel to the city.
Meet Your Newest Pleasantville Physical Therapist
Our new location is led by Kyle Stupi, Westchester native, former Columbia University football player, and former clinical director of our Chelsea location. Kyle has demonstrated exemplary patient care and leadership skills during his tenure at SPEAR, and is excited about his move up to his home county of Westchester.
Kyle’s treatments use a holistic approach, combining elements of manual therapy, exercise, and modalities to create the best plan of care for each patient. He is also passionate about sports medicine, even having contributed to various published articles on the subject.
Live Near Pleasantville and Need Physical Therapy?
Now more than ever, we can continue our mission to bring more New Yorkers back to life, because we know Life Can’t Wait. You can book an appointment at our Westchester clinic by calling 914-358-2900 or requesting an appointment online!
Alec Thomson is a seasoned and active New Yorker, often competing in various athletic competitions around the nation. Alec was training for his first Ironman Triathlon competition when he unexpectedly experienced a cycling accident, going head over handlebars in Central Park. Worried about how this would affect his ability to compete in the upcoming race, Alec was looking to jump right into physical therapy.
Alec began his search for a physical therapist. His first interaction with SPEAR ultimately influenced his decision to begin treatment with us. The care coordinator who took care of him asked a series of specific questions around his condition and goals. Alec was initially confused when offered an appointment at a SPEAR clinic further away from his home; when he expressed concern, the care coordinator indicated she felt this particular therapist was better-suited for handling Alec’s particular condition. “The fact that the scheduler understood what I was doing, understood what I wanted to do, and wanted me to get the most appropriate attention, brought me to SPEAR,” Alec says.
Alec worked with two therapists, mostly with Jimmy Olayos. Alec found that at SPEAR, he did not have just a therapist: he had what he fondly calls, “a family relationship—it was just a click.” Alec looked forward to his sessions: “the hustle of the day kind of fades away as I walk in. Somebody’s [always] smiling, there’s laughter and there’s camaraderie.”
Throughout his treatment, Alec prioritized getting his body to function properly, learning what he needed to return to his previous level of physical activity. Alec needed to focus on the basics before he could go full throttle: “those days leading up to the race, I was not running, I was not swimming, I was not biking; all I was doing was rehabbing my body,” he shares.
After many weeks of intensive physical therapy, Alec was able to compete in the Ironman competition—not only finishing, but doing pretty well! Alec is now able to live his full life and continue the sports he loves so much. “I still run, I still exercise, I still surf,” he proclaims. “SPEAR exceeded anything I could have ever thought of.”
Regarding our celebration of 20 years in service, Alec had this to say: “I want [SPEAR] to keep doing what you’re doing, and be all over the U.S. so I have access to what you do. Congratulations, 20 years is a big deal!”
We think so, too, Alec! Thank you for sharing your story with us!