The memory of her knee buckling from underneath her the week before was still fresh in her mind. With surgery scheduled in two weeks, she needed a structured physical therapy program to get the swelling down, improve her muscle strength, and prepare for the operation to reconstruct her joint.
"Growing up, I played a lot of 'collision sports' and had my share of injuries," says Kevin Quinn. "I wanted to find out how bones and joints work, which drew me to physical therapy. Besides, my family is filled with healthcare practitioners, so it felt very familiar."
Today, as a licensed physical therapist, Quinn works with all kinds of patients in a process that may last days to months. "First, I'll evaluate the musculoskeletal system and the extent of the injury," he says. "Then, I develop a plan of care that includes both short-term and long-term goals. Once a patient comes out of a major surgery like knee reconstruction, a short-term goal may be to walk with crutches or teach their muscles to fire correctly again. A longer-term goal could be to walk on the treadmill or run outside. And, always, the overall goal is to return the patient to the same physical function — or better than — they had before the injury."
While Quinn continues to be involved in sports medicine and sees his share of injured athletes, he's quick to point out that the process physical therapists use to help people recover physical function is similar for anyone and any injury, from a sprained ankle to total joint reconstruction. Quinn brings all those daily clinical practice experiences to his teaching and mentoring at Midwestern University. And, as a Midwestern physical therapy alumnus, he knows the program from the inside out.
I played a lot of 'collision sports' and had my share of injuries. I wanted to find out how bones and joints work, which is what drew me to physical therapy."
— Kevin Quinn, PT, MPT, MS, ATC,
"I chose Midwestern for my MPT degree because the school is completely dedicated to the health sciences," says Quinn. "The faculty's core belief is service to the patient and the profession, which I appreciated as a student. As a faculty member, I'm excited to carry on that dedication." Although he always had an interest in education, Quinn spent ten years gaining practical skill and providing direct care to patients of all kinds. He continues to work full time as Regional Manager for AthletiCo Rehabilitation in Oak Brook (IL), where he oversees four clinics throughout the northwest Chicago suburbs. In the MWU physical therapy program, Quinn is adjunct faculty for some of the classes in kinesiology, biomechanics, human anatomy, and patient evaluation.
"At MWU, both faculty and students interact inside and outside the classroom, which creates a great environment for collaboration. We share class time, intramurals, and other activities," says Quinn. "Midwestern's programs demonstrate the team approach to healthcare, which is the direction for current and future practice. The collaboration among faculty and students in all the healthcare professions creates a fantastic atmosphere on campus," says Quinn. "We're developing the next generation of leaders in the profession." Out of his MPT class, six of Quinn's fellow MWU alumni are employed with him at AthletiCo, and all are now in management positions.
In addition to seeing patients from all walks of life — industrial rehabilitation cases to everyday people with a variety of physical dysfunction — Quinn has worked with amateur and professional athletes from the NHL, NFL, MLS, Major League Baseball, U.S. National Soccer teams, and several Chicago-area rugby clubs. "That provides an outlet for my sports medicine interest," says Quinn. And those experiences provide real-world examples for his MWU students.
Kevin Quinn, PT, MPT, MS, ATC, is adjunct faculty in Physical Therapy at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus. He is active as a player and official with USA Hockey and is an Illinois-licensed athletic trainer, who completed his first marathon in 2008.