“Levi was very committed and dedicated to returning to rowing as soon as possible," said Caity. “He was enthusiastic each session and challenged me to continue to find exercises that appropriately challenged him to get ready for his return to rowing.”
Unlike PT for athletes returning from an injury such as a torn ACL, therapy sessions are different for patients recovering from pectus excavatum surgery.
“Over the years of having the pectus excavatum, their muscles and other tissues have adapted to the changing shape of their chest wall and rib cage," said Caity. “The change in shape of the chest wall leads to a lot of postural and strength imbalances, so we spend a lot of time in physical therapy addressing the underlying imbalances to improve posture and back strength.”
The hard work paid off, and Levi was able to return to his favorite sport for winter conditioning with the Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club, where he competes with team members from across Greater Cincinnati.
“I needed to get back so I didn’t fall behind everyone else (on the team),” said Levi. “Having a specific goal in mind helps.”
For him, it was a desire to return to rowing as soon as possible. But both Levi and Caity agree that any goal—not just a return to sport, but even something as simple as sleeping in your own bed—can help any patient during therapy.
Upon his return, it didn’t take long for Levi to discover he was a stronger rower than before the surgery. He continues to build up both his endurance and body mass, but more than anything he’s happy to continue his active lifestyle without any lingering concerns.
“Being active has really become a part of who I am,” said Levi. “When I can’t be physically active, I’m not as happy.”
(Published July 2022)