Somerset Medical Center’s Marc Nowak to Join US National Rowing Team at 2012 Olympic Summer Games
While many of us will be watching the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games from our homes, Somerset Medical Center physical therapist Marc Nowak, MSPT, of Howell Township, NJ, will be at the Games in London helping to prepare the US National Rowing Team bring home the gold. Nowak serves as the Official Physical Therapist for the US National Rowing Team.
During the day, Nowak helps patients of all ages at Sports Physical Therapy Institute in Princeton, which recently joined Somerset Sports Medicine, by using a variety of treatment techniques to promote range of motion, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Nowak says he enjoys the problem solving aspect of physical therapy regarding the specific functions, dysfunction, signs, and symptoms unique to each patient’s condition.
Many of Nowak’s patients have been seeing him for years. He is an advocate of establishing a maintenance program for select athletes and patients. Periodic or monthly visits help maintain optimal function, minimize the effects of repetitive stress or disability, reinforce wellness, and foster an improved understanding of the body to both the patient and therapist.
“The more I see a patient, the better I get to really learn how their body works,” said Nowak. “This helps quickly discern if the problem is new or an extension of an ongoing problem, and more importantly, how serious it is.”
In between everyday patients, Nowak spends his time treating the US National Rowing Team. He believes that working with these professional athletes helps with treating his everyday patients.
“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,” said Nowak. “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.”
Nowak is looking forward to this year’s Summer Games.
“The fun part of working with athletes is helping them recover from an injury that enables them to compete and excel at the sport,” said Nowak. “To me, to be part of that is huge.”
However, sometimes it’s not always fun and games. One year, a rower injured his back two days before the final where a gold medal was at stake for the entire boat. Nowak was called upon to help decide whether the rower was able to compete. Because he had the pleasure of treating this rower for years, Nowak knew that the injury was not incredibly serious and gave the clearance for the rower to compete.
“To be in the situation where a gold medal is riding on my decision is extremely nerve-racking,” said Nowak. “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 a part of such an incredible moment in those rowers’ lives.”
Nowak brings nearly thirty years of experience to Somerset Medical Center, receiving his BA in Biology from LaSalle University, and his MSPT from Arcadia University.
Somerset Sports Medicine offers five locations for sports performance and rehabilitation services, including Somerset Medical Center’s Sports Performance and Rehabilitation Center in Bridgewater, Somerset Medical Center’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Services in Somerville and Sports Physical Therapy Institute locations in Princeton, Hillsborough and Flemington. In addition to working with the US Rowing Team, Somerset Sports Medicine’s expert staff is also the official healthcare provider for the Somerset Patriots minor league baseball team and provides programs to help high school, college and professional athletes excel in their sports. For more information, visit somersetsportsmedicine.com or call 855-SPRTS-MED.