Brian Vogler: Former Alabama Player, Current NFL Athlete

Brian could have traveled anywhere in the country for physical therapy, but read why he chose HPRC.

Brian Vogler isn’t the kind of guy who sits on the sidelines. The former Alabama tight end was beginning his NFL career in Chicago last summer and was looking forward to the start of the season. Unfortunately during training camp he broke his foot, which took him off the field. The injury benched the 24 year old, and he had to begin physical therapy.

Vogler could choose any facility in the country to receive therapy. He talked to some of the best in the business about the fastest way to get him playing again. That’s when he met Joel Stenslie, Clinical director of Human Performance and Rehabilitation Centers (HPRC) River Road in Columbus, Georgia. And, Vogler decided to come home for treatment.

“The NFL would pay for treatment wherever I wanted to go. I could have gone back to Tuscaloosa and work with therapists who I am familiar with, but I decided to come back here. One, because I was in my home environment, and two, because I believe Joel is one of the best in the country,” Vogler explains.

After six weeks of intense therapy, Vogler was ready to play again. He headed to Indianapolis to finish out the season with the Colts. Unfortunately, during spring training, he suffered another set back, this time with a fractured acetabulum – a broken hip.

“I felt like I was in the best shape of my life when I got hurt (the second time). You get used to injuries, but I thought I was at the best point of my life, and that was what was most frustrating,” he explains.

When it was time to choose a therapist the second time, there was no question for Vogler, he was going back to HPRC. By now he and his therapist had had formed a friendship. Stenslie told Vogler that he would always be available to help him. He was determined to push Vogler even harder and get him back in shape.

“Working with a professional athlete adds pressure. Getting him back to the next level was my primary focus. It also is easier working with someone like Brian. He understands how the body is supposed to work and how treating one area of his body effects other areas of his body,” Stenslie says.

“Joel pushed me harder because he could see what I can handle. He did stuff with me that he couldn’t do with an older person,” Vogler remembers.

Stenslie says working with someone with Vogler’s athletic ability allowed him use different techniques because of his higher level of coordination. His focus was on balancing activities and getting his hips to stabilize on all different surfaces. He also used a combination of plyometrics – exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time with the goal of increasing power – as part of his therapy.

u28a9871“As a therapist you need to find restrictions of movement, weakness and compensated movements that may cause a dysfunction or pain.  As with Brian, he had moderate weakness of the hip along with faulty knee positions when performing multidirectional activity.  These movements added increased stress to the lateral foot.  After the fracture of the hip, we were able to increase hip overall power from his hip and correct the aligment and proprioception of the lower kinetic chain to unload the foot.  This is awareness and injury prevention for the future,” Stenslie explains.

HPRC is a Columbus-based Physical Therapy practice. The company also has offices in Alabama and South Carolina. The organization prides itself on a patient friendly atmosphere with the main focus of getting patients back on their feet, out of pain and being able to perform the tasks of daily living.

“When my father started this practice in 1955, his vision was focused on rebuilding and enhancing the body’s functional capability. I believe this is a vision our therapists still build on today, “ says Brian McCluskey, HPRC chairman and chief executive officer.

“Healthcare is a constantly changing field but our philosophy has not changed: to provide the best care possible and improve lives one patient at a time,” he goes on to explain.

Vogler would agree, “I feel great health wise and in shape. But I am not where I want to be yet. Luckily July is an off time in the NFL. It gives me more time to train, and do what I have to do to play in the fall.”

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