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Saluting Our Staff: Ed Martel, OMPT

Ed Martel MPT, OMPT Physical Therapist / Co-Owner

Our Miracle Man:
You would think this essay says it all, but there is so much more to Ed Martel’s story. Ed’s spirit is best captured when you are able to just sit with him and chat. The following is the best we can do convey why we at HealthOuest are grateful for the ability to attract a person like Ed Martel as a cherished member of our family.

Ed summarizes his early days, “I went to DeLaSalle and was drafted out of high school to play professional athletics for the New York Yankees, to include a paid college education. I played baseball and went to school in the off-season. When I was put on the major league roster, I didn’t attend college for two years.” Ed’s professional pitching career was sidelined intermittently and eventually cut short due to shoulder surgeries, subsequent rehab and elbow injury. Ed recalls, “Day one (after surgery) they’re pushing me, they’re jamming my shoulder all the way up into full flexion and external rotation. It was killing me, but at the time, I figured this must be what’s supposed to happen. I know better now, but there was pressure on the physicians and therapists to get me back on the mound.”

Ed’s unfortunate experiences with aggressive rehab explain part of his drive to become a physical therapist. What also contributed to his career choice was a physical therapist who treated him and planted the seed by simply stating, “You know you won’t be playing baseball forever.” In a quest to help others avoid his rehab experience, Ed pursued his degree in physical therapy.

Like his journey in professional baseball, Ed’s career pursuits would be unexpectedly interrupted. “During PT school I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy. I didn’t quit school during treatment, but I missed a few classes. I went into remission for a couple of years, but it (the cancer) wasn’t completely gone from my bone marrow.”

Ed would graduate PT school only to be confronted again. “I knew it was back before I was even tested. I could feel it – the pain, the shortness of breath.” This time Ed would make the pilgrimage to Houston, Texas for a bone marrow transplant, shortly followed by another life-changing event. Ed married his soul mate, Julie. “We got married, not knowing whether or not I’d make it.”

Fortunately for Ed’s patients, he was finally able to embark on his career as a physical therapist. Ryan Vinson, OMPT, a former classmate and associate shares his thoughts, “I have worked with and known Ed now for over seven years. His passion for his job is contagious. Ed is the type of person who brings out the best in those around him. He brings his competitive drive from the baseball diamond to the clinic and pushes you to be a better therapist. The best part about working with Ed is his excitement as we use what we know about anatomy and biomechanics to deliver new and unique interventions. He continually challenges you to expand your knowledge base for the good of your patients.”

In his own words, Ed describes his feelings about his chosen field, “It’s sustainable, that’s what I like so much, it’s not artificial. You don’t have to continually look for ways to keep yourself going. The motivation is built into the practice. I get to work on people, to educate them, to listen to them, to help them, and I get paid.”

Over the years, Ed has endured a number of setbacks resulting from the immunosuppresants required to avoid transplant rejection. The most recent of which took place less than a year ago and sent his body into septic shock. Ed explains, “I was on the table and as the doctor worded it, I was chemically dead. They kept me alive with just chemicals.” Ed miraculously recovered, but ended up losing his left lower leg, part of his right foot and several finger tips. In addition, Ed is on dialysis three times a week, awaiting the okay from specialists for his kidney transplant. Seemingly undaunted, he triumphantly forges ahead.

Ed smiles as he describes the days ahead, “For me it’s just, you wake up and you breathe, then you do what you have to do to get to the next breath.”

Humbly unaware of how his profound resilience inspires those around him, Ed summarizes his challenges like this, “I’m just an average person who faced and continues to face extraordinary circumstances. I have been able to confront these challenges with the support of my wife, my family and friends.” He goes on to say, “Everything I’ve been through has forced me to figure out what makes me tick: my kids, my family, staying active, and helping people.”

Bill Knight, HealthOuest cofounder shares his impression, Ed’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious. He applies distinctive clinical skills because of his athletic background. In addition, Ed’s compassion with his patients is evident and characteristic of a person who’s been in their position.” Stuart Siegner concurs, “Ed is a unique and driven individual with inexhaustible resolve. He has found ways to capitalize on his experience as a professional athlete to become an outstanding physical therapist. He is an important part of our HealthOuest team and we are proud to have him as a co-owner”

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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 www.hqpt.com.

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Written by Brooks Juneau

October 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Staff

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