For Lucca Ardovini-Brooker, his internship at Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Center in New London is serving its purpose.
“My internship has helped me get a better visualization of what physical therapy is all about, day in and day out. Some people realize in an internship that they don’t like the job, but working in mine, I am more motivated to do this as a living.”
The senior health science major and first baseman on the Mitchell baseball team first discovered physical therapy in high school.
“I saw a lot of friends and athletes get hurt over time and didn’t know if they could play after their injuries. Watching them go back to playing with good physical therapy inspired me to be a health science major. I went to a lot of their appointments and saw what physical therapy is. The need for physical therapy will never go away.”
Lucca shadows the physical therapists as they work with patients and go through their exercises in each therapy session.
“My favorite part of my internship is seeing all different types of people walk through the door, with their different stories and different lives. It is amazing how impactful just an hour of exercise can be on their day-to-day life and helping them get back to what they love doing.”
He said the mental challenges of patients, however, can be tough.
“People have mental barriers thinking they won’t get back to where they used to be. It is challenging for a physical therapist to bring them over that barrier, making them know they will get better and stronger over time.”
Lucca sees that many of the skills he is honing at Mitchell are used by the physical therapists daily. Communication between the physical therapist and the patient is essential for a successful outcome. Critical thinking and problem solving are also key to analyzing an injury and figuring out what will and won’t work for a patient.
With future plans including applying for admission to graduate school for physical therapy, Lucca’s experience is preparing him well. In addition to what he is being exposed to at his internship, he recognizes an important characteristic of Mitchell that will help in working with diverse populations.
“The diversity at Mitchell gives you a better and broader perspective of the world. I went to a small Catholic high school that wasn’t very diverse. Here there is a lot more culture and appreciation of where you come from and where other people come from. Understanding that can only help me as a physical therapist.”