Wouldn’t it be great if you could read an uncensored interview with a healthcare professional before you decided to work with him or her? We think it would. That’s why we at Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinic are publishing monthly interviews with our staff members. We want you to get to know the incredible team that makes Elite what it is. Did you read last month’s interview with our lead physiotherapist, Leah Dlot?
This month, we are excited to give you the opportunity to get to know physiotherapist Trevor Horvath. Trevor is a PT with 25 years of experience. As you can imagine, he has a lot of valuable things to say about physiotherapy. Read on to learn more about this irreplaceable Elite physiotherapist.
Interview with Elite Sports Injury Clinic Physiotherapist Trevor Horvath
1) What do you love most about your job?
I’ve always loved helping people — helping them regain what they’ve lost, restore function, and get people back to their regular lives. I also really enjoy educating people about their injuries and issues. Gaining that knowledge is invaluable and often something other health care professionals rarely invest the time in.
2) Is there a specific type of patient or condition you prefer to treat? If so, why?
Not particularly. However, I would always prefer an acute injury to a long-standing, chronic one.
3) What skill do you wish you had going into the field of physiotherapy? Do you think you possess that skill now?
When I first started as a physiotherapist, my hands were not great. It takes time for your hands to actually feel what your education and your head are telling you they should feel. Luckily, that is a skill that I seemed to have acquired relatively early in my career.
4) Is there a piece of advice you would give a new physiotherapist to help them succeed? What tip do you wish someone had given you as a new PT?
I have told many physiotherapy students or new therapists that I believe there is merit in starting your career in a hospital. There is less time-based pressure in that environment, giving you time to better hone your assessment and treatment skills. When you first start your career, patients with significant pain can be a little intimidating and scary. If you have worked in-hospital with someone who is 8 hours out of open-heart surgery and still connected to a ventilator and dozens of tubes and lines, back pain doesn’t scare you anymore.
Also, I wish that someone had told me to not do too much too fast. When I first became a therapist, I took a lot of courses. Like many new grads, I wanted to enhance my skill set and knowledge base as quickly as possible. But it takes a while in practice to integrate all you have learned into your daily client care. I took some time later to go back and make sure I made the best out of what I learned.
5) How effective do you think physiotherapy is at preventing surgery? What surgery in particular do you believe can often be prevented by PT?
Good question, tough to answer. In general, shoulders are one of the better examples of that. Good shoulder mechanics and strength work can often help someone avoid rotator cuff surgeries. Proper management of minor-to-moderate knee injuries (ligament/meniscus) can also often preclude someone from making something worse down the road. I often tell clients we can’t always avoid injuries/surgeries, but the right therapy and some effort can stack the cards in our favour.
6) What is your specialty? Do you want to stay in that area of expertise or explore something new?
As most therapists in private practice, I specialize in orthopaedics. Physiotherapists can also work in cardiorespiratory, neurology, or specialize on geriatrics or pediatrics. Within orthopaedics there can be other specialties (hand therapy, vestibular rehab, etc.), but I generally treat a broad base of most orthopaedic conditions. This what I have done for 25 years. It’s what I am good at and, besides continuing to learn and take courses, I plan on sticking in this general area. But you never know what can happen.
7) What do you admire most about your patients? What have you learned from them?
I learn from every patient. Maybe evaluation and treatment of their issue enhances my knowledge of biomechanics or muscle imbalances. Or maybe the time we spend working together and talking helps me learn something about their careers or interests.
What I admire about my clients is their desire to be better. And not just their injury being better, but being better athletes, spouses, parents, etc. They want to do the work to get stronger, to be more functional. It’s easy to sit at home and accept an injury or a limitation. It takes effort and courage to try to make a change, and strength and perseverance to maintain that effort, especially early along. Courage, strength, and perseverance are all admirable qualities.
8) If you could make people understand one thing about physiotherapy, what would it be?
I consider myself like a coach. I help clients learn what they need to do to help themselves. We can help, but they need to be willing to do their part. And the only way to know if something can be done about your problem is by trying to do something about it.
9) How do you physically, mentally, and emotionally take care of yourself so that you can take care of others?
Physically — I work out to maintain strength, flexibility, and endurance. I eat a pretty clean diet and I go for regular massages. In addition, if I get hurt then I get one of the great therapists around me to help get me back on track.
Mentally — I read a lot about my profession, but I also need to turn off my “physio brain.” I like to read, play sports, and workout. I think these are great ways to turn off.
Emotionally — Physical activity is one of my emotional releases. Sports and working out are key. My wife and daughter are my main emotional supports. Funny how drawing rainbow flowers and jack-o-lanterns, building Lego princess castles, and holding hands on a walk will erase days of stress.
10) What are 3 fun facts about you?
i) I love playing Ultimate (Frisbee) and have been lucky enough to represent Manitoba and Canada at 25 Canadian National, 3 US National, and 3 World Championships. I have been inducted into the Manitoba Disc Sports Hall of Fame.
ii) I am an encyclopedia of useless information. Years of reading and talking to clients about their jobs, lives, and interests have filled my head with things that often come up in conversation and make me seem really smart, but really the information is valueless otherwise.
iii) Despite coming across as funny, charming, highly intelligent, and confident, I am actually only funny. Not even Robin Williams funny. More knock-knock-joke funny.
What type of physiotherapist would you like to work with? If you live near Winnipeg and are looking for a PT who is compassionate, extremely experienced, and can tell a great knock-knock joke, you may want to check out Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinic.
Leave a question or comment for Trevor in the section below.