Athletes push themselves to the limit to improve their performance. Along the way, they have to manage injuries. No one knows this better than Dr. Brian Eckenrode ’97, ’99MSPT, a cross-country runner and assistant professor in Arcadia University’s Department of Physical Therapy, who recently launched a Running Injury Clinic on campus.
Located in the Health Sciences Center, the Clinic welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities who are looking to recover from or prevent running injury and maximize performance. Bridging academic departments and disciplines in true Arcadia fashion, the Clinic is more than a service to the community—it is an interdisciplinary learning and research lab where second-year Doctor of Physical Therapy students collaborate with undergraduate Health Administration majors.
The Clinic is the culmination of many things for Eckenrode, who, over the course of many years has searched for an opportunity to develop a clinic for runners. Noting an increase in Arcadia students asking for assistance with sports-related injuries, Eckenrode realized Arcadia provided the perfect setting to conduct running assessments.
“The Running Clinic came from wanting the opportunity to work with a population I really enjoy, and infusing it with a learning opportunity for physical therapy students,” says Eckenrode. “It’s an educational experience for student volunteers and a chance to see something a little different versus some of the other opportunities they have during their time at Arcadia.”
The Doctor of Physical Therapy program requires students to perform pro bono community outreach in diverse health care settings under faculty supervision. First-year students work with elders either at the West Oak Lane Senior Center or at Foulkeways retirement community in Montgomery County, while all second-year students participate in the Dan Aaron Stay Fit Clinic for persons with Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis on campus and rotate through the Mercy pro bono clinic in West Philadelphia, serving the uninsured and underinsured. These experiences prepare students for clinical experiences and allows them to become comfortable working with patients. Until now, however, students didn’t have the opportunity to work with high-performance athletes.
The information Eckenrode and his students collect may serve to inform Dr. Scott Stackhouse, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, about patient concerns for his current research project, a study on the Achilles tendon, and generate ideas for new research projects.
After gaining the Department of Physical Therapy’s support and the University’s approval, Eckenrode contacted Robert Kieserman, Program Coordinator of Health Administration, in the hopes that he could offer some managerial support and recommendations. He did more than that, offering Eckenrode the talents of his Health Administration seniors, who will be benefiting from real experience rather than a simulation study.
“This is the first time our graduating students have had a laboratory to practice what they’ve learned,” says Kieserman. Students are involved in managing the front desk, receiving patient intake forms, and processing payments. And in the classroom they are generating a comprehensive marketing plan, managing external communications and developing an overall strategic plan.
“The students are taking this opportunity very seriously,” adds Kieserman. “We are tremendously excited to get the clinic up and running.”
Make an Appointment
The Running Injury Clinic is open to the public and is currently scheduling patients on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Single-visit assessments include a medical and running history intake, a physical examination (strength, flexibility, core, balance, alignment, function, etc.), a video running analysis as well as a treatment plan recommendation. Most sessions are approximately two hours in duration.
The cost is $120 per runner, $100 for Arcadia-associated individuals, and $50 for all students with valid school ID. All funds will go to the Arcadia University Department of Physical Therapy.
For more information and to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Brian Eckenrode at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Hoffer Photography