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Inspired Brothers Share Their Story

It’s not every day we meet someone who will one day be defined as our hero. For one eighth-grader and his brother, that day came when they met the man who would be their physical therapist, their trainer, their mentor, their friend.

This is not our typical patient success story. Yes, these two brothers, Conrad and Carter Kovalcik, received physical therapy treatment for medial epicondylitis (little leaguer’s elbow). Both were successfully rehabbed. Conrad returned to rehabilitate a strained shoulder and both work with their physical therapist to prevent future injuries.

While we don’t want to minimize the importance of their therapist’s skills or the boys’ compliance, we felt compelled to underscore how the brothers, particularly Conrad, were inspired by their encounters with one of our treasured HealthOuest co-owners. This can most effectively be accomplished by revealing portions of an essay, submitted by Conrad, describing his Michigan hero.

The Miracle Man
He threw a ball 97 mph, played in the New York Yankees organization, graduated from Northwestern University, and survived two deadly illnesses. This is a brief synopsis of the life of my hero, Ed Martel, who is the “miracle man.” My hero, worn down by diseases, may not be a big guy anymore, but his big heart makes him seem larger than life. He is only 37 years old and has experienced more than most do in a lifetime. Throughout this paper you will find out about the diseases that Ed Martel has fought, the many things he has accomplished, and about his great humility.

I have known Ed Martel for less than three years and in that very short amount of time we have become close friends. We met at HealthQuest Physical Therapy and Wellness Center, where Ed is a physical therapist. After an arm injury of my own, Ed improved both my throwing mechanics and muscle strength. After I was healed, Ed started giving me pitching lessons. Since then, we have been working out together diligently, only stopping when Ed has been sick.

The usual image of a professional athlete is fancy cars, huge houses, and “the all-around perfect lifestyle.” Ed Martel is unique and just the opposite. My hero now lives a humble and rather normal life, but in the past he overcame some very serious “road blocks.” He has survived Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. His successful battle with cancer involved a bone marrow transplant which weakened his immune system, allowing Ed to be very vulnerable to sickness. He recently battled and beat a strep positive pneumonia and septic shock.

Even after all of his troubles, Ed Martel loves his life and the condolences that everybody offers are unnecessary. He is blessed with a wife, two healthy children, and his own life. He realizes that few people encounter the diseases that he has had and live to tell about it.

Ed Martel was a magnificent athlete and has the stats to prove it. He was the 290th pick in the 1987 Major League Baseball draft. If this is not impressive enough, Ed was also one of the top 100 prospects in all the minor leagues in 1992. He was drafted out of high school as opposed to most players who are drafted out college. During Ed’s professional career he pitched for the Columbus Clippers, who are an affiliate of the New York Yankees. He pitched there for many years, but was limited due to arm problems.

Once Ed was done with baseball, he obtained his Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Oakland University.

In conclusion, Ed Martel has had a roller coaster type of life and has made the most of it. Not many people can say that they have done the things he has done. He is soft spoken and only shares his knowledge when asked. He is well liked by many people and does all he can to help those in need. Ed has worked hard to achieve many things and overcome many obstacles. My personal Michigan hero can teach the whole world something; that anything is possible if you work hard at it. That is why Ed Martel is not only my personal hero, but my model for life.


This information was provided by HealthQuest Physical Therapy and Wellness Centers: Return to Work, Return to Life, Return to Play.  To learn more about HealthQuest Physical Therapy services and how we can help you recover from an on-the-job injury, regain your independence and get back to living your life, or return to the physical activities you love visit our website at

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Written by Brooks Juneau

October 7, 2009 at 1:57 pm

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