Bayhealth Milford Memorial physical therapist Scott Richards, DPT, realized his calling as a senior in high school.
“I severely sprained my ankle playing basketball and had my college scholarship taken away,” he said. “So I decided to join the Navy and had to get therapy before boot camp. At that time I fell in love with therapy, so I decided to go into the medical side of the Navy.”
For 10 years with the U.S. Navy, Richards served in many different capacities, including as a hospital corpsman, medic, and in various nursing units such as labor and delivery and the newborn nursery in various Naval hospitals. After completing Marine training at Camp Lejeune, he served as a medic for eight months in the combat engineer battalion 1st Marine Division from California in Desert Storm. Following his overseas service, Richards returned to school, earning his associate’s degree in applied science from Northern Virginia Community College, his bachelor’s degree in administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. He worked as a physical therapy assistant for 18 years before returning to school for his doctorate in physical therapy, which he received from Neumann University in Pennsylvania in 2010. He worked as a physical therapist at Dover Air Force Base before coming to Bayhealth Milford Memorial in May of this year.
“I love working here,” he said. “Bayhealth is a great company.”
Bayhealth recognized the efforts of Richards and the many other physical therapists at both Bayhealth Milford Memorial and Kent General this October, which is Physical Therapy Month.
“As a patient, therapy helped me both physically and emotionally,” he said. “It had such an affect on me I thought it was something I’d like to do. People go through a lot because of their injury. As therapists, we help our patients’ physical needs and emotional needs as well.”
Richards treats patients with diverse rehabilitative needs, including post-operative orthopaedic patients, and patients who have suffered strokes or brain injury. The type of therapy depends on the illness or injury and could include lymphedema management for patients who had undergone breast cancer surgery, vestibular rehabilitation for patients with balance problems, and much more.
“My favorite thing about my job is getting people better. Helping them return to their previous functional levels by working with their disabilities to increase their independence and relieving their pain,” he said.
According to Richards, the need for physical therapy as a whole is projected to grow by approximately 39% by 2020. To be in this profession requires seven years of schooling, and in the next several years the American Physical Therapy Association will mandate all schooling programs be doctorate-level, translating into even more specialized care for patients.
“There’s no typical day as a physical therapist – it really depends on the patient, and varies from an athlete recovering from injury to a patient recovering from a stroke to an amputee building his/her strength and getting the residual limb ready to be fitted with a prosthesis.”
For more information about physical therapy and other types of rehabilitation services available at Bayhealth Milford Memorial and Kent General, visit www.bayhealth.org.