November 28 - Tulsa World: RPCV Andy Ward runs Physical Rehabilitation Clinic

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By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, November 30, 2001 - 11:56 am: Edit Post

Read this story about RPCV Andy Ward and the Physical Rehabilitation Clinic he runs in Oklahoma at:

New rehab center no laughing matter

New rehab center no laughing matter

Nov 28, 2001 - Tulsa World Author(s): Cary Aspinwall Credit:World Staff Writer

Andy Ward can laugh when he thinks about opening his first branch of Redbud Physical Rehabilitation in Sand Springs on April 1, 1997.

"We opened on April Fools' Day because people told me it was foolish to go out on my own and open a new clinic," Ward said.

More than four years later, Ward has the last laugh after recently opening the third branch of his physical rehabilitation business in Sapulpa at 404 Mission St.

Combined with his clinics at 200 N. Main St. in Sand Springs, and 4716 E. 40th St. in Tulsa, Ward provides physical rehabilitation services to many Tulsa, Sand Springs -- and now, Sapulpa -- residents.

Ward attributes his businesses' growth to recognizing a need for services in those areas.

"We were asked by some physicians and insurance companies that we have contracts with to cover this area," he said. "The demographics for Sapulpa indicated a need."

The goal of physical rehabilitation is to "return people to full function" after injury, surgery, or even the onset of a disease, Ward said.

"We see a lot of orthopedic-based patients," he said. "The largest number of our patients have muscular or skeletal problems. A lot of what we do is working with people who have work-related injuries, to help them learn how to avoid getting hurt again."

Ward said his mission is to help his clients, whether it's a high school athlete or a 45-year-old with a family to feed who can't afford to take time off from work due to an injury.

"Our philosophy is to get the patient involved in their rehab, and give them lots of homework," he said. "I can't fix anybody but I can show them what to do."

Ward, who worked his way through college at Oklahoma City University as an athletic trainer, completed two years as an athletic trainer for the University of Oklahoma and a year in the Philippines for the Peace Corps before completing physical therapy school at Langston University. He worked for hospitals and private practices for a while before deciding to branch out on his own.

Ward said he sees his role as a physical therapist as a teacher.

"I have the skills to help people feel better and function better - -but the patients need to be a part of it," he said.

Ward said the state requires patients to have a written order from a physician before they can receive physical therapy treatment. Patients who don't have a referral can only receive advice and recommendations, not treatment.

At his Redbud clinics, Ward's patients run the gamut -- from amputees to people recovering from strokes or living with diseases such as multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia.

Sapulpa resident Judy Yarger has been recovering from foot surgery for several weeks, and Ward has been working with her to reduce the swelling and make it more comfortable for her to get back to her everyday life.

"It all helps (with recovery)," Yarger said. "It's just a gradual process."

Using a variety of techniques such as massage, whirlpool baths, ultrasound treatments, muscle building and range-of-motion exercises, Ward and his staff work with clients to get back to their work, their lives and their normal selves.

It's what he considers to be the "privilege" of his job.

"It's nice to see a 45-year-old man or woman who may be the breadwinner in their family go back to work healthy so they don't have to worry about how they're going to pay the bills," he said.

His love for his patients and his home state are the reasons behind why he does what he does -- and the name for his clinics.

"My roots are here in Oklahoma, so I thought naming the business Redbud after the state tree was a nice way to give an Oklahoma spin to it," he said.

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