Wyatt's Story: Beyond Physical Therapy
Wyatt Spalding has had a love for sports his entire life, particularly tennis. Wyatt also has cerebral palsy, which makes it harder to work out and strengthen his muscles. Since attending the Boys Town Center for Human Performance Optimization and utilizing the state-of-the-art technology housed within, he has seen marked improvement in his performance on and off the court.
“I've gone to physical therapy for most of my life," said Wyatt. “All it was is stretching and trying to do everyday things. But I wanted to train for sports, to become stronger."
Unlike standard physical therapy clinics, the Center for Human Performance Optimization encourages patients to set their own goals, with physical therapy staff working with technology to help reach them.
“My goals for Wyatt are Wyatt's goals. Whatever Wyatt brings me is what I hope to provide back to him," said Brad Corr, DPT, Associate Director of Physical Rehabilitation. “It's a unique challenge as a physical therapist to have someone push you. And I think that's part of what makes us different."
Do a set of five fast ones. Let's see what you've got. I've gone to physical therapy for most of my life. All it was is, you know, stretching and just trying to do like everyday things. But I wanted to train for sports, just to become stronger because, you know, having cerebral palsy, it is hard to be stronger. I can lift like probably 10 or 20 pounds more on my left than I can my right. Just finding ways to become quicker because with cerebral palsy you're not really that quick.
You tied! 23 yeah! So you maintained your velocity.
We're trying to help you be the best version of you through teaching you skills and learning more about what you're capable of and so that's what we call optimization. For Wyatt, it's not just about towing a heavy weight or being stronger to be able to pull more weight, it's about the why behind it. Why do we do this with your right leg? Why are we pushing? How do you use this sled activity in tennis? So we talked about, well this is going to optimize your back stroke or your back swing with your tennis, and so then you really have to load your right leg to swing through that ball or to hit down line.
I've always wanted to like come to a training facility or physical therapy facility like this where, you know, I can leave here and I can see my improvement in my flag football games or my basketball games, or tennis matches. That's what makes this place special is that they ask you, how do you want to become a better athlete? My YouTube channel, Life with Wyatt Spalding, I show drills and just kind of workouts. I have cerebral palsy and I do these workouts and so if I can do it, you know, anyone can do it. You just have to modify the workout if you can't do certain things.
When I saw the videos of Wyatt taking the activities that we had done in clinic and replicating them at home, I was elated. It's a pinnacle of health care when you see your patients or the people that we serve translate the activities, that you're doing here in clinic, to those at home. My goals for Wyatt are Wyatt's goals. Whatever Wyatt brings to me is what I hope to provide back for him. It's a unique challenge as a physical therapist to have somebody push you. I think that's part of what makes us different. I don't set Wyatt's goals for him. He comes to me with a challenge and he asks if I have the skill set to help him meet that goal. That's where it's fun and exciting as a therapist to try to problem-solve those things alongside the patient and developing activities to support them.
In tennis I play in this tournament called, The Experience, and it's the top 32 Special Olympics tennis players in the country. I've never won my division but came close the last few years. I lost in the finals in my division so I want to win my division and eventually move up to that top division. Training at places like Boys Town physical therapy is a step to achieving those goals.