Max Kovalenko

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In early April 2013, the day before I was set to move to Milwaukee, I decided to take a day to myself and take one last ski trip. I got to the beautiful Copper Mountain resort just as the slopes were opening. I was excited to be there so early and have a whole day of skiing ahead of me. Having a young career had made it difficult to find time for myself and I was ecstatic to finally take a day to relax. The day was going well. It was the middle of the week and there weren’t many people to share the mountain with. After a few hours of skiing, I decided to take a break and grab some food. On my way down the slope, I saw the terrain park, which had been set up for an event over the previous weekend, so I took a turn to go check it out. The morning had given me false confidence in my lacking skills which I was soon going to realize.

I went off a small ramp, lost my balance leaning forward and made the split decision to try and roll through the fall. Turns out I was closer to the ground than I thought and ended up absorbing the full fall on my left shoulder, doing some highly technical tumbles and maybe even a somersault. I opened my eyes to see my skis and poles in different directions, my goggles were half off and my helmet was almost all the way off my head. After the initial shock of the situation, the pain from my shoulder hit me like a train. I have played sports my whole life and I have had lots of injuries, but this one was the worst in a long time. I could barely move my left arm, so I reached over with my right to feel a huge bump right at the top of the shoulder. The second half of that day was spent in the clinic and then a hospital in Denver. Turns out I had separated my left AC joint and done some significant damage to ligaments.

I still made the drive to Milwaukee, worst drive of my life, and immediately went to see a specialist. The doctor gave me a short list of recommendations for physical therapy. After some online research I decided to check out Vita since they were right down the street from my apartment. From the first visit I knew I was in a good place. Everyone was welcoming; Tommy spent time getting to know my injury and previous history. We talked through the plan to make me better and what I should expect during rehab. Tommy was great to work with personally and professionally. He went out of his way to get to know me and each session was a great experience. I saw quick improvement in my mobility, my strength, and a decrease in pain and discomfort. Tommy was upfront with his expectations of my recovery and I could see progress each week. The thing I appreciated was the variety of exercises Tommy and the team challenged me with. Those that work out know how boring routines get and Tommy did a great job switching things up to keep me motivated. As he got to know me, he also found ways to challenge and motivate me to push beyond my comfort level, which led to a better recovery.

Overall, I am very happy I chose Vita. As I interacted with multiple staff there, I could see the great relationship they have with each other and that translated into how they treat their clients. My shoulder is significantly better, and although I am still getting back my strength and mobility, I know that it was thanks to Tommy and his team that I’m able to be on the right track. I would highly recommend Vita to anyone seeking physical therapy; I had a very positive experience.

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