Meet Our Therapists

The following article appears in the Winter 2014 edition of our Community Newsletter and introduces readers to the new Director, Mark Robertson:

Traveling PT Finds a Home at Lindsborg Community Hospital

He was born and raised just down the road, but his career has placed him in Maine, Kentucky, Iowa, Alabama, Arizona, California, Washington, Minnesota, and Kansas. Remarking that each location "provided it's own draw", it becomes clear early in the conversation that his travels also found him in love.

Meet Mark Robertson, DPT, Director of Rehabilitation Services for Lindsborg Community Hospital. As are all rehab staff (physical and occupational therapies), Mark is an employee of RehabVisions. Mark took over the directorship from Sharon Vajgrt, PT, in December. Sharon will continue to work parttime, choosing to cut back hours so she may enjoy time off to spend with her family.

McPherson is Mark's hometown, and he is the youngest of three boys. He attended McPherson schools and graduated from Baker University where a broken ankle acquired while playing soccer led to three months of rehab and consideration for a career switch from veterinary medicine or wildlife biology to physical therapy. His undergraduate degree includes a minor in wildlife biology, but he went on to Wichita State where he completed his Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy.

Mark joined a 'traveling physical therapy' practice group after graduation, and traveled to ten states in just four years. He met his wife, Shana, also a physical therapist, while practicing in Kentucky, and they continued their roles as traveling PTs for about three years. It was on April Fools day just one year ago they discovered they were pregnant-three days after quitting their jobs without a firm plan in place. Soon the plan was to leave California and look for something closer to Mark's hometown. In October, son Ryan Avery made an early debut, and the report is that Ryan is keeping his parents busy!

Mark is relaxed and easy-going and describes his approach to practicing physical therapy as "hands on" and uses manual techniques and exercise to accomplish patient goals. He cites the use of available modalities-ultrasound, electric stimulation and others-as good tools and helpful in the overall process, but "I like to be hands on and educate the patient to continue their program at home for the long-term. My goal is to get people set up to manage their symptoms at home." It shouldn't come as a surprise that he endorses fitness and exercise as playing a major role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Mark's hobbies include watching and participating in all sports and has claimed the local teams from where-ever he has lived. He can now follow the Wichita State Shockers, the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs and claim them as his favorites. If given the opportunity to "be invisible" for a day he would fish. Fish for whatever is biting and with whoever wants to go along. He also enjoys hunting.

If you have a condition or limitations that may benefit from PT, visit with your provider and ask for a referral. Mark, Sharon and Emily will get you on the right path.

The following article appears in the Autumn 2013 edition of our Community Newsletter and introduces readers to Emily Burchett, PT Assistant:

A Scot Finds a Home in Little Sweden

She appears to be of average build-but just looking at Emily Burchett is deceiving. Nyckelharpa and Hambo dances are not part of her regular repertoire, but hand her a set of bagpipes and a Braemar stone and you will meet "Iowa's Strongest Woman".

Emily is the new Physical Therapy Assistant, joining the rehabilitation staff in late summer. And while her 'other' hobbies include motorcycling, an extensive album collection, playing guitar, ukulele and banjo, "strong woman" Highland Games competitions are a passion.

Born in Hays, her family moved to Missouri when she was five years old. Her mother, five brothers and two sisters live in Warrensburg, MO. After high school graduation, Emily moved to Iowa to attend Northern Iowa Community College, graduating as a PTA. Her father cultivated her interest in Scottish Highland Games and her brothers also compete...but Emily is the family star, having competed at the Women's World Championship most every year since she was just 14 years old-and never finishing less than 7th place. The competition is hosted each year in Phoenix, AZ.

A Highlands competition will include nine events: the Braemar Stone, a 12-16 pound stone (for women) that is thrown, somewhat similar to the track and field event of shot put, but without the approach ; the "open stone" weighing 'only' 8 pounds and thrown as the shot put, with an approach and the hammer throw-a 12-16 pound hammer thrown with planted feet. Next up are weights for distance-hand throwing 28 and 14 pound weights for a distance and then 'weight over bar', throwing a 28 pound weight with a handle over a cross bar. Enough? Not yet-the classic sheaf throwing (her personal favorite) is throwing a 10 pound burlap bag of twine over a cross bar, generally while maintaining a stand. The most popular is the crowd pleasing caber throw. A caber is a telephone-pole like post 12-16' long and weighing between 30 and 70 pounds. The goal is to toss the pole so it lands at a position that is "12 o'clock" from the stance of the athlete-or directly in front of the athlete. In competition, the "weight over bar" is where she has performed best.

Emily's integration into the Smoky Valley has been a good one...her quick, bright smile is warm and friendly and patients have quickly embraced her dedication to their well-being. She successfully competed in the McPherson Scottish Festival in late September, winning the womens' event. Emily may also be a bit of a 'ham'...providing some additional fun at the third annual "Battle of the Buses"-by "helping out" the local volunteer fire department when it appeared their truck had stalled. Emily stepped up to push it out of the way! Further sign of her integration is the desire to participate with the Track & Field coaching staff at Bethany College.

When asked what has surprised her the most about moving to Lindsborg and her first job as a PT assistant, Emily replied-"how nice everyone is!"

And if you are ever watching a Highland Games competition and want to find Emily? She'll be the one in the Crawford Clan Tartan.