Centra Rehab Cares Meet Mikayla Jobe - professional dancer and teacher

Mikayla Jobe is a professional dancer and teacher at Lynchburg Elite Dance. She started training at the tender age of 2 has been dancing for more than 18 years.

Mikayla injured herself away from home while traveling and performing through North Carolina. Mikayla happened to be dancing in socks during one of her workshops, a practice known to be dangerous when performing jumps. Socks lack the traction to hault momentum when landing on the ground.

Mikayla unfortunately fell during the workshop and landed with the full force of her body on her knee. She did not know it yet, but she had torn her ACL, an injury that was going to have a profound impact on both her professional career and personal life.

After consulting several physicians, Mikayla was referred to a surgeon and admitted for surgery on the torn ACL. She was frightened and insecure about her future as a dancer.

Coming out on the other side of surgery, the road to recovery was still quite daunting for Mikayla. Her surgeon referred her to Centra Rehabilitation where she met Physical Therapist Courtney Bumgarner. The two embarked on a journey that would forever change them as both patient and care giver.

During her first Physical Therapy session with Courtney, Mikayla chose to look at her incision for the first time. The experience was very jarring for her. The shock of seeing the physical trauma to her body coupled with the knowledge of the long recovery period ahead of her sent Mikayla into an anxiety attack. Her response to the fear was to break down into tears.

Courtney responded by hugging Mikayla and reassuring her that her response was normal and that she had a right to her emotions. Courtney pledged to Mikayla that she would not be alone in her recovery and that they would be going through the process together. She also reminded Mikayla that her family is a wonderful support structure to help her work through the pain and fear.

Having laid Mikayla's worst fears to rest, Courtney informed Mikayla of the recovery protocols recommended by her surgeon, explaining each step in detail and laying out expectations for targeted goals and checkpoints throughout the recommended 1 year of physical therapy. Beyond that, Courtney listened intently to Mikayla's needs and incorporated her personal goals as a priority in her care.

Courtney also went above and beyond in her approach to individualized care doing independent research on a dancer's specific recovery needs. She consulted outside help from another dancer to garner more insight into what areas Mikayla needed to focus on in her recovery. Courtney provided Mikayla with an environment that was specifically tailored to her needs to foster a return to professional dancing as quickly as possible.

Mikayla was very encouraged by Courtney's commitment to her recovery. The physical therapy sessions were grueling and oft times extremely painful. There were times when Mikayla felt like giving up. In those darker moments, it was Courtney who stepped in to offer her encouragement, nurturing Mikayla into fighting to regain control over her body.

Working hard over the next year of physical therapy, Mikayla took all of Courtney's advice to heart and treated her recovery period like a full time job. She was diligent in practicing her exercises at home and took every precaution to ensure a smooth road to recovery.

Having finally reached the end of her physical therapy, Mikayla has returned to performing and teaching. When asked if she would have been as successful in her recovery had she not had Courtney to guide her, her answer was a resounding, "No way! Physical Therapists are integral to recovery, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too." Mikayla considers Courtney as more than her physical therapist, but as a wonderfully supportive friend.

Mikayla feels that her experience has fundamentally changed her perspective on life, a change that has made an impact on her dancing as well as her teaching. She has become more aware of the possibility of injury and takes a meaningful approach in teaching her students to be mindful of their bodies and the potential for personal injury.

Mikayla's final thoughts on her experience, "Take nothing for granted. Every movement or moment you have is as meaningful as the next."

Created By
Heather Gillikin

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