Owosso’s Trainer | From the Work Room to the Sideline

August 9, 2016

Allan Goetzinger’s physical therapy expertise and knowledge doesn’t remain solely within the walls of Memorial Healthcare. For him, his job and community are one and the same.

He spends his day helping patients recover from a variety of ailments as a Physical Therapist at Memorial Healthcare’s Outpatient Clinic, utilizing his natural patience and love of physical fitness to revitalize patient’s mobility and lifestyle. But his job does not end when he walks out the door; instead Allan takes his expertise to the sidelines of Owosso High School, serving as Athletic Trainer. It is here where you can see his full impact, not only on his patients and student athletes, but their families and the community as a whole.

It’s common to see Allan in animated conversation with people of all ages; stopped regularly by former patients, students, parents, and other people of the Owosso community. He’s accustomed to striking up conversations all around town, such as the supermarket.

“I know a lot of people,” he said. “I get to be around people all the time. I grew up with them, I learn from them, and they learn from me. They trust me to guide them. Building that relationship with the community, it means a lot to me.”

Allan’s interest in physical therapy began in high school. He was a multi-sport athlete who unfortunately suffered his share of injuries. However, it did introduce him to a medical atmosphere and an experience with a clinician that made him want to pursue the medical aspect of athletics as a future career. And now that situation is flipped.

“I have student athletes who want to follow my footsteps, which I love,” he said. “It’s a great compliment to me because it means I am doing my job. They can see I’m happy and take things seriously.”

Holding both jobs allows Allan the opportunity to follow athletes from beginning to end. He recalls when an athlete tore his ACL during a football game and Allan was the one to help him on the field. Then, he was able to continue to help the athlete heal throughout his physical therapy at Memorial Healthcare. A year later, he saw him take the field and play again.

“Seeing things through is fantastic,” he said. “Doing both means I get to do more for the students and the athletes.”

There are many moments that bring a smile to Allan’s face, like when he remembers helping a young girl through her knee rehab. In an effort to keep her motivated, he often included some fun into her sessions. They would have stool races around the gym, and he told her if she ever beat him he’d present her with a trophy. On the last day of her rehab, she beat him but he was without a trophy. He quickly created one with q-tips, medical tape and other items. When he gave it to her, he said the smile on her face was something he’d never forget.

Then, there are moments he looks back on with pride, like when he worked with a young man who lost a leg in an accident. He hadn’t walked in two years, and after working with him throughout many phases of therapy, Allan would go on to watch him walk out the door.

“Being able to change people’s lives every day is why I do this,” he said. “Whether [the patients] are getting better today or tomorrow, if they are happier when they leave, then I did something. That’s why I love doing what I do.”

At Memorial Healthcare, Allan enjoys working alongside his team. He feels empowered with the freedom to express himself through exercise with patients. He said everyone complements one other and truly acts as a team.

Allan loves the Owosso community and considers Memorial Healthcare a major component of it. Hospitals and schools are major pillars of a community. And Allan feels lucky to be involved in both.

“Every day when you are involved with the hospital and the school, you get to interact with everybody,” he said. “I don’t have patients and that’s it. I have a community.”