Not literally, of course, but it was a love to run that helped PTSC’s Vice President of Physical Therapy decide to become an athletic trainer, a career which began with a degree in Sports Medicine after having interactions with Athletic Trainers in college.
“I would have some knee pain and would get sent to the athletic trainer, and I was interested in what they were doing,” says Stovall.
“I decided that might be something that I wanted to pursue as a career.”
After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from today’s Missouri State University, he went forward with a master’s at Wichita State University, where he also worked as an athletic trainer through a graduate assistantship. The experience affirmed his desire to work with patients, and in 1997, he was hired at PTSC.
“My role was to expand sports medicine around the Mountain Grove area, which included Norwood, Mansfield, Hartville, Houston, Cabool as well as Mountain Grove,” says Stovall. “Those were the primary schools that I covered at the time and I would make regular rounds, a couple of times a week, to those schools. That allowed me to develop relationships, and start the program there.”
He has been at PTSC ever since, but as times have changed, so has his role. After working with local schools and students for several years, he opted to continue his education and obtain a second master’s degree in physical therapy – a move that allowed him to care for even more people.
“I still am really interested in sports medicine and working with athletes, but I wanted to be able to expand my skill to be able to see a wider variety of patients,” he says. “There’s a lot of overlap between the two professions, but there’s a lot of unique things between them as well, so I get to have the best of both worlds.”
Both of those careers fuel the same reason he still enjoys coming to work every day.
“I kind of think of it like I’m solving a problem. I’m solving a puzzle, to a degree, with just the knowledge of anatomy and how injuries happen and everything that goes on with pain,” says Stovall.
“Being able to listen to that patient, get their history, get to know them, and come up with what I feel like is causing their pain – and then determining what the best course of action for each patient to fix the issue or decrease their pain is really rewarding.
“I’m glad I get to work with people and be able to solve their problems; being able to help them get from Point A to Point B and feel like they’ve returned to their prior level of function is so satisfying.”
James Stovall’s credentials and certifications include MEd, MPT, LAT, CSCS, FMS, CVT and SFMA. He is certified in Dry Needling I & II; LSVT; as a Big Therapist; and as a Certified Vestibular Therapist.