Contributions from Sean Avila, PTA at Pro Active Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine.
In what branch of the military did you serve and when?
I served in the Army. I took the oath of enlistment in October 2008 and was honorably in October 2015.
Tell us about your career - including opportunities/milestones leading up to your current role
I started out in Fort Hood, TX after Basic Training in Missouri (Fort Leonard Wood). I was there for 4 years with Iraq in between for one of the years. In Iraq, I was at Joint Base Balad (JBB), which as the name suggests was a joint military base with multiple branches stationed there. I worked for a Brigade Commander which was a big deal for me being newly enlisted. Brigade Commanders oversee 20,000 to 30,000 troops. The Command Group taught me a lot about leadership and delegation, efficiency, and working together. The Army, in general, taught me a lot about working with groups from different backgrounds and really taught me about adaptability. I feel like this skill set is really valuable while working with patients in the clinic. People have all kinds of different communication styles and experiences in dealing with pain. I feel like working with the command group and with individuals from different backgrounds has prepared me for keeping an adaptable and flexible attitude toward people who come from different backgrounds and have different experiences.
How has your experience in the military prepared you for your current role?
I feel like my experience working with the Command group and working with people from all around the United States has prepared me well by teaching me to stay organized, stay adaptable, and really understand people and where they are coming from.
What do you find most rewarding about your current role in PT?
I find that the most rewarding aspect of being in therapy is being able to help people understand their body better, understand their pain better, and help people recover from their surgery or injury in a way that they wouldn’t have been able to on their own or with a different therapist.
What motivates and inspires you every day?
I am inspired and motivated by having the opportunity to help people and direct them in a way that they can lead healthier pain-free lives. I am very proud of the fact that I served for the time that I did and am very happy to help people, especially in the military, recover from injury and surgery. The military personnel put their lives and bodies on the line every day in order to prepare themselves for serving their country in whatever capacity that involves.
In honor of Military Appreciation Month, who is someone you appreciate/would like to recognize?
I would like to recognize my grandfather, “Grandpa Marvin” who passed a few years back. He served as a Staff Sergeant in the Army during the war in Korea. I appreciate his dedication and combat service in Korea. His stories inspired (and scared) me to enlist. I enjoyed sharing my own stories with him so that we could become closer in our relationship.