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Athlete Highlight: Emma Kuhlman

We’re thrilled to highlight our client, Emma! Emma has been training at The Micheli Center in Norwood, taking advantage of many of our programs: ACL return-to-play, physical therapy, and working out in the gym on her own time.

How did you first hear about The Micheli Center?

I’m so grateful to have been connected to The Micheli Center through Yo-EL Cassell, Head of Movement at Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre, and Michelina Cassella, PT who connected me to Heather Southwick, PT.

Were you injured prior to coming to TMC?

Yes, I had a bucket handle meniscal tear and reconstruction surgery in 2019 and an ACL reconstruction and partial meniscal tear sometime in 2020 which was reconstructed September 2020.

What has your journey to recovery been like?

Since the initial injury, my healing journey and outlook has completely changed. After my first surgery I rushed through rehab and pushed myself beyond healthy limits, thinking I could just power through. I wasn’t able to maintain healthy muscle mass and was not giving myself enough time to recover. I spent time early on in the pandemic ignoring chronic knee pain until I finally returned to my surgeon in September to learn I had a torn ACL; unaware of what event had caused it or how long it had been torn. I felt like I was searching for answers as to how I could have torn a major ligament without knowing and it sent me on a search to find strong injury prevention training. Since my second surgery, I have been on a much more holistic healing journey incorporating meditation, proper nutrition, infrared sauna, and cryotherapy in conjunction with the work at The Micheli Center. I am so grateful to be training at The Micheli Center because of their science-based and ultra-personal approach to recovery. Heather and the trainers I’ve worked with really see me and my goals and know push me to my fullest potential.

What goals have you reached since you started training here?

I had goals coming in to training that feel surface-level in retrospect. I wanted to be able to run and jump without pain again and thankfully I can. However, what is more exciting to me is the new trust I have in my whole self. Training in the gym has transformed my work as an actor. I think of acting as being a vessel or conduit for another person or reality and to do that in a transformative way, I need full trust in myself so I can make discoveries in the present movement. Free from fear of re-injury or mistrust of my physical body, I now have much deeper access to energy, my imagination, and the freedom to explore anywhere my creative instrument, my body, takes me.

What has been your greatest moment in the activity/sport that you participate in?

This spring I was fortunate enough to act in a TV series and star in my first feature film. (That feels like a huge brag which I’m still getting used to!) It would not have been possible without my family or the support of The Micheli Center. To be working professionally without the safety net of a university was a huge step forward in my recovery. Now knowing I can show up on set ready to do my best work because I am fully healed and ready to explore safely is so exciting.

What have you learned about injury prevention from The Micheli Center?

My biggest take away so far has been that my entire body works together and recovery, like any journey, usually isn’t linear. I feel so much better living in maintenance instead of repair. I have seen so much more progress after finding balance in the gym. I show up and know how to hit what counts instead of trying to do everything, getting burnt out, and opening a window into possible re-injury.

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