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Physical therapy gets Joe back in the swing of things

It was the final day of spring semester, and Joseph Purcell, Jr., wanted to spend part of it on the golf course.

But a relaxing day on the links soon turned into serious injury. The golf cart Joe was riding in as a passenger flipped over, landing on him and breaking his back.

Diagnosed with a compression fracture in his L3 vertebra, Joe ended up in a back brace. He was ordered to rest, which meant no bending, lifting or twisting.

For an active 20-year-old college student, it was a startling change in his way of life.

“I could walk and shower, but putting on socks and doing other things were difficult,” Joe said. “I could only lift a gallon of milk.”

It got to the point where Joe said he was afraid he’d reinjure himself if he bent to touch his knees.

Needing to jumpstart his recovery, Joe and his family chose Good Shepherd Physical Therapy to get him back to his usual self.

“I went in there pretty banged up,” said the Minersville, Pennsylvania, resident.

Joe began in-person physical therapy at Good Shepherd’s Pottsville location during his summer break. Following COVID-19 safety measures for in-person care, Good Shepherd’s rehabilitation team introduced a variety of stretches, exercises and equipment to guide his recovery. Joe said he liked how everything was designed specifically for him.

“It was very good,” Joe said of his experience. “I definitely learned a lot.”

Joe made progress during his in-person therapy visits, but his timeline was short. He had to return to college in Williamsport (about 90 minutes way from home) for the fall semester.

Despite the long distance, Joe was able to continue his physical therapy uninterrupted through Good Shepherd’s telehealth appointments. Joe logged into a secure video platform with the Good Shepherd team observing and guiding on the other side of the screen.

“I thought it was going to be hard, but it was great and convenient,” Joe said of telehealth. “After every session, I felt better.”

Back at school and finished with physical therapy, Joe now is concentrating on completing his two-year degree in building construction technology. He hopes to work on a residential construction framing crew after graduation. Outside of school, Joe is hiking, doing some light jogging and throwing the football around with friends.

He went golfing recently, too.

“I don’t feel limited,” Joe said. “The Good Shepherd staff was great. I’m really thankful.”


If you need help recovering from an injury, request an appointment online or call 1-888-44-REHAB.