Erin Connelly, DPTDoctor of Physical Therapy
Erin Connelly was born and raised in Bryn Athyn, PA where she attended the Academy of the New Church Girls School. Throughout her life she participated in many athletic events such as gymnastics, dance, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and spring board diving which inspired her to further her education in the health and athletic industry. In 2011 she completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise & Sport Science from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. After graduation she worked in a physical therapy outpatient clinic as a physical therapist aide and receptionist where she found her true passion in life was to become a physical therapist with a specialty in manual therapy. Manual therapy inspired her because she found that the techniques gave positive healing results to patients while offering quality and individual healthcare. In 2012 she moved to Saint Augustine, FL where she completed her degree as a Doctor of Physical Therapy with a specialty in manual physical therapy in 2014. Erin has now Manual Therapy Certified specializing in manual techniques for the sub-cranial/cervical spine, thoraco-lumbar spine, sacroiliac joint, extremities, and myofascial mobilization of the entire body. Outside of work her time is well spent with fitness/athletics, running with her rescued black lab, and cooking with her husband.
Why I became a PT:
When I look back on the development of my career, I realize that it was by chance that I ended up in physical therapy. Growing up I was involved in athletics daily. From gymnastics to soccer, you name it, I was involved. While running down the stairs to get to my first job as a dishwasher in high school, I tripped down the stairs causing a horrible sprain in my right ankle. After getting cleared at the hospital with an ankle fracture, I was sent back to school and sports but noticed that my leg was holding me back in soccer.
I spent many hours in the training room at school with an athletic trainer. She taught me exercises which improved my ankle enough for me to return to soccer with only mild limitations.
Not having the best of luck, I ended up with another injury the following year. I was kicked in the leg below my knee in a soccer game. Waking up the next day with my leg feeling a little strange, I thought nothing of it and went to school and continued my after-school activities as usual. After beginning our warm up in soccer practice, I began to fall on the field and trip over my own leg. The trainer did not know how to help me, and I was referred to my primary doctor. Being diagnosed with drop foot and given instruction to rest was not the answer I thought I would get. As an active child, resting was a horrible punishment- like feeling. Was there really nothing more I could have done for this injury?
When the time came for me to choose a career in college my thoughts fell short of options. Should I attempt to please my father, a self-made woodworker, and go into business or nursing? Or should I follow what I knew I was interested in? The only thing I was sure I was interested in was athletics, and I had turned down the opportunity to play lacrosse in college to go to a college I knew nothing about. Because I changed my major five times in the first year, my college advisor knew I was lost in the direction of career choice. After a long discussion with him, he sent me over to the head of the exercise and sport science department on campus. I was set up in summer classes because I fell behind to graduate in 4 years with my indecisive career path.
Taking biomechanics and exercise physiology that summer started me in the right direction. But, in a blink of an eye, I was in my last semester of college feeling I did not have a career set out for me.
Procrastinating on selecting my internship may have been the best thing that happened to me. The last place on the list of internship sites had a spot open for me. Atlantic Physical Therapy accepted my 350-hour observational internship at a satellite outpatient physical therapy office in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
I became fascinated with the various types of conditions and injuries that physical therapists could treat; strokes, ACL repair, amputations, cerebral palsy, ankle sprains, and even drop foot! It was wonderful to finally be introduced to a career that I could personally relate to
At the end of this internship my onsite teacher questioned me about my future. He saw both my passion for the career and lack of direction on how to achieve this goal. He hired me after graduation and taught me to be a physical therapy aide and receptionist for the clinic.
Later, he introduced me to a school, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in St. Augustine, Florida which offered a spot in a physical therapy program beginning in August 2012. Graduating with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in a little over two years, I finally found my passion as a physical therapist.