Why I Chose To Become A Physiotherapist

  • Team Stories   •   August 8, 2022

By Dan Mollins, PT

4 Minute Read


 have been a practicing physiotherapist for 3 years, graduating from Dalhousie in 2019. The past few years have been a tremendous experience, growing and learning along the way. Alongside my practice, I have been dedicated to an active lifestyle, whether that be in the gym or out in nature with my two dogs. I also have the pleasure of teaching fitness classes at a local studio, Move East. Much of my day-to-day is centered around promoting and living a healthy lifestyle. These are practices that have been instilled in me for many years and over time, I have developed a more in-depth view of what a healthy lifestyle looks like. This lifestyle is not the same for everyone. It can range from being a devoted runner to enjoying evening walks in solitude. The ultimate goal of physiotherapy is to help patients optimize themselves, however that looks for them. Throughout this blog you will see how my past has crafted my current approach and also how my perception of what optimal looks like has shifted. 

Growing up being very active and playing sports, physiotherapy was always on my mind. My first encounter with physiotherapy was during a football game, interacting with a few local therapists on the sidelines, who were helping my teammates get taped up prior to playing. I was fortunate enough to have no injuries until my senior year of football, when I tore my meniscus.  It seemed pretty harmless in the moment, but the next morning I woke up to a ballooned knee and an inability to bear weight; and just like that it seemed like my whole life would change. No more football, hockey or rugby – boom: just like that I would never play sports again. Fortunately, my mother had been seeing a physiotherapist at the time for her neck, so I figured they would be a good first stop. The therapist diagnosed me with a meniscus tear and had a good connection with an orthopaedic surgeon, so she was able to get me to see them quickly. Following surgery, the same physiotherapist who provided me with my diagnosis was able to provide me with return to sport rehabilitation. Before I knew it, I was back to full sport, able to play my last year of hockey, and even back in time for rugby season which pushed me towards playing rugby at a university level.

Despite my physiotherapy origin story being very much intertwined with sports, my undergrad provided me with some mind opening experiences. Early into my first year at University of New Brunswick I began volunteering at the campus gym for a program called AXON – Advanced Exercise for our Nerves. This program was an exercise based program for elderly people who were experiencing some form of neurological disorder, ranging from Parkinsons to post stroke impacts. While helping these inspiring people fight for their return to or maintenance of function, I heard so many stories of the things that helped them be able to return home. Three guesses what the common factor was! Physiotherapy, consistently.  For them, physiotherapy wasn’t just returning to a football game – it was returning to eating, returning to being able to climb their steps into their home; it was really returning to life. After four years of seeing these patients grow, and become more functional, with the help of exercises and their own rehabilitation programs from their physiotherapists, there was no doubt in my mind that physiotherapy was what I was meant to do.

Now, as a professional, with a blended background of neurological and sports / ortho I’m able to customize my approach for each person that comes in. Every initial assessment I try to tease out WHY they chose physiotherapy, what do they want to get back to, what are they limited in. I have heard so many times I want to JUST get back to walking, or JUST be able to sit without pain etc. Many people belittle their WHY, but I am here to tell you any WHY is important and valid. You don’t have to be a marathon runner, or a high performance athlete – if your why is that you love to walk around the public gardens and your knee is limiting you, I am there to help you build your strength and ability to walk those gardens with a smile on your face. The treatment approach I take with every patient is this: How we can optimize your body for what you need it for? We only have one body, as cliche as that may sound, and we need to take care of it. Those aches and pains we live with do not need to become the norm! We should feel as good as we can each morning, to make the most of the life we have. 

So ultimately, what is my Why? My Why is to get you back to your WHY, the reason you decided to take your health in your hands, and to get back to the things you love to do. Never feel like it’s too minimal or not valid. We are here to help you get to and stay at at the best level you can. I want each patient to leave my room feeling heard, and empowered to strive for their optimal self. 

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