Once tonight's opening ceremonies are finished in London the 2012 Olympic Games will officially be underway with athletes from across the globe looking to bring home the gold.
Starting tomorrow Team USA will begin competing in the rowing events and one member of their support team will be physical therapist and Howell resident Marc Nowak. Regularly working at the Sports Physical therapy Institute in Princeton, which is part of the Somerset Sports Medicine group, Nowak is the official Physical Therapist for the US National Rowing Team according to a press release.
Nowak said he enjoys several facets of his job including, "the problem solving aspect of physical therapy regarding the specific functions, dysfunction, signs and symptoms unique to each patient's condition," the release said.
Working with the world class athletes on Team USA, Nowak said helps him in his daily duties in Princeton. "When I work with rowers, I see a lot of repetitive injuries that affect soft tissues, joints and bones all in a week's time," he said. "These injuries are the same as an everyday patient's injuries, but develop much quicker and more frequently which helps me apply how I treated the rower successfully to the everyday patient's injury."
Before heading off to London Nowak said he was glad to be part of the team representing his country." The fun part of working with athletes is helping them recover from an injury that enables them to compete and excel at the sport," he said. "To me, to be part of that is huge."
Working with such talented athletes is nothing new for Nowak who has helped them get back to competition when an injury might have otherwise put them on the sidelines. "To be in the situation where a gold medal is riding on my decision is extremely nerve-racking," he said. "Fortunately, I was able to make the right decision and helped the entire team bring home the gold. I'll never forget how I was part of such an incredible moment in those rowers' lives."
The Princeton location is one of five that Somerset Sports Medicine offers. There is also the Somerset Medical Center's Sports Performance and Rehabilitation Center in Bridgewater, Somerset Medical Center's Outpatient Rehabilitation Services in Somerville and other Sports Physical therapy Institutes in Hillsborough and Flemington.
Somerset Sports Medicine is also the official healthcare provider for the Somerset Patriots minor league team in Bridgewater and also works with high school, college and professional athletes.