Physical therapist keeps patients on the move
The Tahoe Basin is home to countless professional athletes, and one Truckee man is helping some of these adrenaline junkies heal their battered bodies to keep them in top performance shape.
Ladd Williams has been doing physical therapy for 22 years, but said it wasn’t just his educational background that taught him how to heal. His upbringing in the Native American Lakota tribe adds a positive energy and spiritual connection to his patients.
“I try to create a community for clients where everyone can feed off good, positive energy,” Williams said while stretching out a patient at Tahoe Forest Physical Therapy in Truckee.
Williams has lived in Truckee for 15 years, but grew up in South Dakota where his appreciation for sports training and physical therapy developed from helping his father – the director of sports and medicine at the University of South Dakota – in the training room.
Apart from working with professional athletes like Roy Tuscany, Jeremy Jones and Julia Mancuso, Williams said he has gone through his own physical setbacks.
In 2006, Williams had to close his private practice – Bare Bones Physical Therapy – after undergoing congestive heart failure, which reduced his heart’s strength to 20 percent.
However, after taking some time to focus on his own health, Williams said he still has limitations, but is proudly no longer on the transplant list.
“It did earn me a pretty cool helicopter ride down to Stanford,” Williams said. “Now I get to keep my heart as is.”
During the winter season, Williams said he spends over 60 percent of his time dealing with ACL injuries, and in the summer, the focus is on the shoulders.
“I’m really protective of my patients. They’re part of my extended family and it’s nice to see somebody you actually care about get their life back,” Williams said.
Jason Dobbs, a 28-year-old free-skiing competitor, said working with Williams since he tore his left ACL this past season during a competition at Squaw Valley has been a unique and effective experience.
“He takes really good care of his patients,” Dobbs said. “He knows where each patient is, where they can be, and where they are headed, and he helps move you along the way.”
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