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Commitment to Continuous Education

Athletico’s core values of one team, understanding our business, recognition, people-focused, accountability, continuous innovation and trust & integrity are at the forefront of our company and culture. Athletico clinicians live these values every day in the work they do for the communities they serve. The content featured below highlights our clinicians’ commitment to continuous education and improving the profession through thought-provoking research and clinical commentary.

Mick Murphy, PT, DPT, OCS, CMTPT

Education: Doctor of Physical Therapy from UW-Madison Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, EIM Orthopedic Residency Program, Board Certified in Orthopedics

Research: Disordered Breathing in Individuals with Temporomandibular Disorder: A Case Control Study

Publication: Illinois Physical Therapy Association

“Every week in the clinic I see patients with TMD and headaches that have signs and/or symptoms of disordered breathing. I am excited to help with this study to improve our understanding of this connection and how we can best intervene as healthcare providers.”

Jennifer Janowski, PT, DScPT, OCS, FAAOMPT

Education: Doctorate of Clinical Science in Physical Therapy from Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI
Board Certified in Orthopaedics
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists
Masters of Physical Therapy, Bachelor of Sociology, Minor in Dance from Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

Research: Acute Effects of Dry Needling on Myofascial Trigger Points in the Triceps Surae of Ballet Dancers: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Publication: International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy

“I enjoyed working with Northwestern Doctorate of Physical Therapy students that are now colleagues. It was fun to blend my passion of dance medicine with research.”

Deanna Phelan-Smith, PT, DPT

Education: Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Research: Acute Effects of Dry Needling on Myofascial Trigger Points in the Triceps Surae of Ballet Dancers: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Publication: International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy

“This was a great opportunity to work with a unique patient population, and I’m interested to see how the research in this area progresses.”

Alexandra Timm, PT, DPT, OCS, CMTPT/DN

Education: Bachelor of Science, Movement Science Major at the University of Michigan
Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northwestern University
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist

Research: Acute Effects of Dry Needling on Myofascial Trigger Points in the Triceps Surae of Ballet Dancers: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Publication: International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy

“As a physical therapy student at Northwestern, this research introduced me to the robust Performing Arts Program at Athletico and influenced me to seek out a performing arts clinical placement at Athletico, which led to me working at Athletico after graduation and I now am a physical therapist for the Joffrey Ballet. This study was also my first exposure to the dry needling technique, and now I use dry needling in my PT practice which has been a great treatment option to utilize for muscular trigger points.”

Destinee Grove, AT – Athletico Fairview Heights

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Exercise and Sport Science with an Athletic Training Concentration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC
Master of Science in Kinesiology with an Athletic Training Concentration from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA

Research: I research cultural competence in athletic training and how best to prepare athletic trainers to provide culturally inclusive and patient-centered care.

Publication: Cultural Competence: Where Are We as Athletic Training Educators?

“Our study investigated the cultural competence of athletic training educators and how prepared, comfortable, and confident they feel teaching cultural competence and related concepts to athletic training students. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of ninety (90) professional-level athletic training educators. The survey consisted of a previously validated cultural competence measure and additional questions we wrote and validated prior to dissemination. We found participants to have moderate to high levels of self-reported cultural competence. However, the majority of participants believed they did not possess adequate levels of cultural competence nor were they taught cultural competence in their professional or athletic training-specific continuing education opportunities. To better understand this paradox and design and implement cultural competence education, future research should examine the origin of participants’ high ratings of cultural competence despite lack of formal education on the topic. Additionally, our sample was fairly homogeneous; therefore, it would be beneficial to understand barriers to the recruitment and retention of underrepresented athletic training faculty.”

Adam Fritsch, PT, DPT – Athletico Cary

Education: Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, MN
Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Carroll University in Waukesha, WI
Board Certified in Orthopaedics
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists

Research: Perceptions of the professional and personal impact of hybrid fellowship training: a qualitative study

Publication: Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy

“This study was designed to look at how a hybrid fellowship training program impacts clinicians both personally and professionally.  We conducted a qualitative study where we interviewed 13 graduates of a hybrid fellowship program.  Following the interviews we transcribed and coded them looking for common themes.  The qualitative analysis revealed perceived impacts across social, personal and practice constructs.  Participants reported strong positive benefits including satisfaction with outcomes, improved social connectedness and professional evolution, enhanced active listening, and self-awareness.  Half the participants reported improved time management.  The impact on family life during the training was discussed, with both challenges and rewards noted, indicating that graduates are impacted by training on multiple dimensions.  Going forward fellowship training programs may benefit from explicit attention to these constructs to further enhance the real and/or perceived benefits as well as the challenges of fellowship training at the social, personal, and practice levels.”

Kelli Barton, PT, DPT – Athletico Printers Row

Education: Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from University of Cincinnati
Doctor of Physical Therapy from University of Cincinnati

Research: Physical Therapy Rehabilitation of an Adolescent Pre-Professional Dancer Following Os Trigonum Excision

Publication: Journal of Orthopaedic & Sport Physical Therapy – May 2018

“During my final clinical rotation in physical therapy school, I had the opportunity to work under a clinical instructor who has a specialty in treating the performing arts population. Os trigonum can be a source of posterior ankle impingement that is most commonly found in dancers due to forceful, repetitive ankle plantarflexion in weight bearing positions. This case study provides guidelines and time frames for return-to-dance progression following os trigonum excision that does not currently exist in the literature as well as factors that will affect prognosis such as hypermobility and dance-specific biomechanics.”

Travis_profile_circleTravis Orth, PT, DPT – Athletico Wheaton East

Education: BA in Biology, Lawrence University
Masters in Cell and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University
DPT, University of New England

Research: Current Concepts of the Genetic Factors in Rotator Cuff Pathology and Future Implications for Sports Physical Therapists

Publication: The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy

“I collaborated with a cell biology professor and sports physical therapist to draft a review paper summarizing the current literature on how genetics influences rotator cuff pathology and post-operative rotator cuff recovery. Having a greater understanding of these cellular mechanisms can help therapists better treat patients with shoulder pain. Additionally, the recent research on the influence of genetics with post-operative recovery may soon be able to be used to better categorize a patient into an optimal post-operative rehabilitation program to help minimize the chance of complications such as stiffness or re-tearing of the repair.”

Rachel_profile_circleRachel Herrera, PT, DPT – Athletico Wheaton East

Education: Graduate of Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences

Research: Influence of Neck Laceration Protectors on Cervical Range of Motion

Publication: Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine

“My colleagues and I investigated the effects of neck laceration protectors worn in hockey on cervical range of motion (ROM) in high school players. We found that all protectors negatively impact cervical ROM in all planes, but the thicker models were more restrictive and perceived by athletes as more uncomfortable. With these findings, we challenged manufacturers to make protectors in thinner models with materials with high cut resistance to maximize safety, compliance, and minimize cervical ROM loss in hockey players.”

For Low Back Pain, Physical Therapy Can Save Money

The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI) engaged The Moran Company (TMC) to assess different initial treatment interventions and total costs for beneficiaries newly diagnosed with low back pain, within the Medicare program. The study shows early initiation of physical therapy for low back pain leads to a decrease in healthcare costs through less subsequent utilization of other types of services. Click here to read the study.

Athletico’s Athletic Trainer, David Heidloff is featured in MOR’s new Research Article on ACL Functional Sports Assessment

Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) has developed a functional sports assessment (FSA) to evaluate ACL injury risk factors on postoperative patients. The assessment has been valuable in identifying weaknesses and risk factors at the 5-6 month time period. Read more here.

Athletico Physical Clinician, Jessica Fulton, PT, DPT, HFS, Published Two Articles 

Athletico clinician Jessica Fulton, PT, DPT, at our Hyde Park Clinic had one article published on Injuries Seen During Intensive Dance Training in the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science and a different article published about Previous Injuries Causing Neuromuscular Re-Injury Risk Factors in The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.

Athletico Clinician Publishes First Book

Athletico clinician and blogger, Liz Hoobchaak, PT, DPT, published her first book Taking Control: Ways to Minimize Your Lower Back Pain and Prevent Future Episodes by Changing How You Move. The book is available through Amazon.

Athletico Clinician Authors Chapter in Book

Athletico St. Charles’s John Honcharuk, ATC, CSCS, authored a chapter, “Injury, Rehabilitation, Fitness and Optimum Health,” in the book Results Fitness.

Justin Justin Payette, PT, is Published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy

Justin Payette, PT at Athletico Berwyn, has completed his sports certification residency.  As part of his residency he helped with a research study on concussions, ” Prevalence of Neurocognitive and Balance Deficits in Collegiate-Aged Football Players Without Clinically Diagnosed Concussion” published in Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.

Dan Gutierrez, OT,  Nicole Kauppila, OT and Kathy Vucekovich, OT Contribute to New Book

Athletico Occupational Therapists Dan Gutierrez, Nicole Kauppila and Kathy Vucekovich contribute to the new book from the American Society of Hand Therapy, Tendon Injuries in the Hand and Upper Extremity: a Masters Skills Publication. Click Here for more information on this book.

Jeannie Hopf (Hartley), PT, Publishes Research on Upper Extremity Impairment

Athletico Portage Park physical therapist, Jeannie Hopf (Hartley), recently contributed to a research article in Disability and Rehabilitation Journal entitled, “Three-dimensional shoulder complex kinematics in individuals with upper extremity impairment from chronic stroke.”

Amy Knuppe, PT, Publishes Research on Stiff Knee Gait

Athletico’s Amy Knuppe, PT, and several colleagues recently completed research regarding stiff knee gait in children with cerebral palsy.  Their paper, titled Prolonged Swing Phase Rectus Femoris Activity is Not Associated With Stiff Knee Gait in Children With Cerebral Palsy: A Retrospective Study of 407 Limbs, will be presented in April.

Daphne Scott, PT, DSc, Publishes New Research

Athletico’s Daphne Scott, PT, DSc, recently published a case study in the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy examining the relationship between low back-related leg pain and treatment options. The case study, Application of a classification system and description of a combined manual therapy intervention: a case with low back related leg pain, addresses the multiple factors that can cause low back-related leg pain and the importance of identifying the source of symptoms in order to develop an appropriate intervention program.

AthletiCo's Daphne Scott publishes a case study on low back-related leg pain and treatment options.Scott was interested in this case specifically based on the lengthy duration of the patient’s symptoms, as well as her previous clinical knowledge of these cases existing in the literature.  She found that this case study may benefit clinicians in identifying patients who meet this specific clinical presentation as well as by supporting some options for treatment intervention.  In addition, by identifying the clinical pattern discussed in the case study earlier, a patient may benefit from more accurate intervention to support resolution of symptoms.

Athletico PTs to Present Case Studies at APTA Meeting

Julie O’Connell, PT, ATC, Director of Performing Arts Rehabilitation, will be presenting a case study at the upcoming Combined Section Meeting for the Performing Arts Special Interest Group of the American Physical Therapy Association on February 12 in New Orleans.  Jennifer Janowski, PT, will also be presenting a poster for the research she has done with students from Northwestern University.

Other Research News

  • Recent research has focused on subjects such as Lumbar Spine outcomes and concussions.Daphne Scott, PT, DSc, presented at the APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting under the Orthopedic Section Programming.  Scott presented a platform presentation on the Use Of Treatment-Based Classification Groups Produces Significant Outcomes In Patients With Low Back Pain. In addition, Scott also presented under the Research Section of the APTA within the Biomechanics Special Interest Group.  For this presentation she discussed the pilot information from her current project regarding patellofemoral pain in females and explaining the use of biomechanical analysis in the clinical setting.
  • Mary Ellen Bulow, PT, DPT, Clinical Education Coordinator, Athletico Glenview, had a research article published in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation.  To view the full published article, “A New Measurement Method for Spine Reposition Sense,” please click here.
  • Athletico announces Orthopedic Residency and Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship training program with Evidence in Motion.

Athletico’s Research Mission
Athletico’s research mission is to investigate aspects of sports and non-sports injury evaluation, treatment, and prevention in order to provide optimal treatment interventions.  Recent work has addressed such subjects as Lumbar Spine outcomes and a concussion program.  In addition, the Research and Education Department privded support for a research project titled “Athletic Trainer’s and Physical Therapist’s Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Psychological Skills within Sport-Injury Rehabilitation Programs.”

Additional projects within the Research and Education Department include a post-surgical protocol database allowing our therapists immediate access to physician’s post-surgical protocols.  This provides our patients with effective physician/clinician communication before the patient is even seen, leading to increased quality of care.

Contact Information
For more information regarding Athletico’s Research and Education Department, please e-mail

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