Beyond physical healing
Tatum Robinson ’99 MPT ’02 has managed to not only realize her vision of having her own practice but also create meaningful relationships with her community.
By Kyle Lubinsky ’17
Fifteen years ago, Tatum Robinson ’99 MPT ’02 graduated from Elon with a master’s degree in physical therapy with the hope to one day open her own practice. Since that time, she has managed to not only realize her vision but also create meaningful relationships with members of her community. “We have been able to help people feel better and move better in their daily lives and in their sports,” she says. “Helping patients meet goals they thought may never happen is pretty awesome.”
Four years after graduation, Robinson opened Phoenix Physical Therapy and Sports Performance with the help of her partner, Lisa Ciaravella ’98. Originally leasing a small space in Denver, North Carolina, the business has grown into two outpatient physical therapy facilities in the Lake Norman-Denver and Terrell areas of North Carolina. It provides physical therapy, aquatic therapy, fitness training and sports performance training to a varied clientele that includes MLB and NBA players as well as high school athletes and everyday people. Robinson works closely with patients who have musculoskeletal dysfunctions, sport-specific injuries, post-operative orthopedic surgical repairs and varying neurological and deconditioning disorders.
While she is passionate about her work, Robinson is especially appreciative of the opportunities afforded to her outside the office. Knowing her patients as people regardless of their level of physical fitness is perhaps just as important to her. “The most rewarding part of opening and running Phoenix is the awesome relationship we have developed with our community,” she says. “We have been able to meet incredible people from all walks and abilities of life.” Phoenix provides multiple outreach programs for the community, including the weekly Brew Run, a 5K–10K run and walk held in the summer. All participants meet after the event at a local restaurant to enjoy different products by area microbreweries. “[It’s a] great way for the community to come together for something fun that is fueled by fitness first,” says Robinson. “We encourage local businesses to get involved as a way to network.”
Robinson knows opening a business has put her in a position to help those in her community. Physical fitness helps her patients feel better and live healthier lives; her most satisfying work is helping patients regain functionality. The practice also offers a welcoming environment for people from different backgrounds, something Robinson takes pride in. Her work is an extension of the positive personal growth she experienced while at Elon. As both an undergraduate exercise sport science and a physical therapy student, her professors pushed her to try new things. “Elon provided me with opportunities both academically and through volunteer experiences to really get exposure to many areas of interest for me,” says Robinson, who remains involved with the university by serving on the board of advisors for Elon’s School of Health Sciences. “I had some amazing professors who served as mentors and helped fine-tune my interests to physical therapy.”
Despite all she has accomplished so far, Robinson has no plans to slow down. “We hope to continue growing and developing our relationship with our town and surrounding communities,” she says. “We have just opened a second location to further meet the needs of the community, and look forward to future growth.”
Visit www.phoenixptsp.com to learn more about Robinson’s practice.