Chapter 2: Cocky Football Players
"You have another request to take on a NFL player for extensive physical therapy,” she said.
"Oh, who is it?"
"Seriously! Tell him I'm too busy or something!"
"He's already in Room 1..." she said hesitantly, seeing my reaction.
I take my coat and bag, drop them off in my office before heading to Room 1. Of all the players, of all the well known physical therapists in the industry! Why Me? Why Scholtz? I hated him! I felt like my life would've ended up differently if he hadn't been the one to take over John's position. That John and I would still be the happy family of three we once were.
Plus, I saw what happened to Scholtz! And it would be a miracle to recover from an injury like that. I've seen a similar injury cripple John and end his career. I don't need another star football player ignoring my warning signs and rushing back into football for fame, fortune and glory only to be met by their own demise again and my I told you so!
I let out a heavy frustrated sigh and opened the door, instantly locking eyes with the star athlete. His striking hazel brown eyes that I had never really seen before. Hidden behind the helmet he’s always wearing on the tv. His well defined muscles strained against his short sleeve workout shirt, his definition of his biceps and chest showed through. His calves noticeably on display in his workout shorts. His burly thighs tensed when I entered the room and I noticed how much more muscular and bulkier every inch of his body was compared to any normal man. Just looking at him sent a shiver up my spine and it made me hate him even more in that moment!
The look of disappointment and defeat showed on his face as he stared down at the big cast covering his left leg and foot. His crutch leaning against the wall next to him.
"Hello Mr. Scholtz. I'm Brooke Waters. So why do you want to do your physical therapy here?”
"I heard you were the best.”
"Is that so..?"
"Yeah. I need to be back and playing as soon as possible.”
Here we go. I knew it as I huffed under my breath. Stars like him, they have a one track mind. Get back on the field playing at whatever the cost!
"I'm not that kind of physical therapist, Mr. Scholtz.”
He looked at me oddly, not really understanding my answer.
"I don't take shortcuts just to get you back on the field.”
"I'm strong. I can recover fast,” he said. "The doctors who performed the surgery said I can do full range-of-motion exercises seventy-two hours after surgery! That's today! I'm here, I'm ready to go.”
"And I completely disagree!" I snapped back at him. "That is accelerated protocol from coaches too eager to get you back to playing!" I threw his chart down on the counter getting even more heated in my explanation. "You should be in a posterior splint for two weeks with orthotic braces to correct alignment and provide support!"
I kept barking at him. "Resistance exercises should be slow and gradual and NOT until six weeks after surgery should you be allowed full weight bearing!"
"I'd rather start the exercises today," he said, completely disregarding everything I was spouting which, of course, made me even more angry!
Every line we spoke to each other came out with our tone a little firmer, a little louder, a little more aggressive towards each other. "You have a serious injury Mr. Scholtz! One that not many players ever return to football with!"
Again, a little more firmer, a little more louder, a little more aggressive. "I will!" he bit back.
"And you're SO certain of that?" I stood my ground folding my arms over my chest. "Are you aware that reports show a decline in power ratings from injuries such as yours for skilled players, specifically running backs?"
"What's your point?" he bit again.
We were finally full on yelling at each other. Both of us were upset and frustrated at each other. I'm sure people could hear us yelling in the next exam rooms.
"My point is, even IF you fully recover from this, you WON'T be the same player you were before! And you'll be EVEN MORE prone to further injure yourself!"
"LOOK,” he spat back finally at his tipping point. "You can spout off all the facts you want like it's nothing to you! But this is MY life, MY career! Football is my LIFE!"
He finally took a breath. "Why are you so certain my career is already over?" he asked.
I straighten out my back standing tall and glare at him dead in the eyes so he knows I'm serious with every fraction of my body.
"It's not nothing to me. My life has been affected by injury that you have no idea of!" I leaned my upper body into his with rage in my eyes and voice. "I've seen injuries like this before destroy men like you!" I elaborated further, painting a clear picture for his cocky ass. "Chew you up and spit you out of the game for good! Before you can even blink!”
I know all about Scholtz. Still the hottest player in the NFL. The University of Oklahoma graduate had definitely been making waves since he'd taken over for John on the Panthers.
He'd won player of the year awards, made the All-Conference and All-America. He was of course enjoying his new life and claim to fame. He dazzled reporters, made covers of magazines, and had women dangling from his shoulders. More recently I've seen him with one woman in particular, Natali Summers, a tall, dark-skinned, dark-haired gorgeous model.
“All I'm saying is you need to prepare yourself for the worst case scenario!"
Preparing himself is the least of it. His career may be over but it's the stardom and fame, the paparazzi and luscious women these cocky football players will miss the most. They don't end up being the same person they once were. I should know that best of all.
"So unless you're ready to listen to me, Mr. Scholtz, and do things MY way, which means no less than eleven months of a functional rehabilitation program involving a slow progression of increasing motion, weight-bearing, and strengthening exercises. That alone will take six months. After that we can start more intense strength training of the repaired tendon and THEN we can discuss where you stand before deciding if you should go back to playing football!”
"OR,” I said with a fake ass smug smile on my face. "You can find another physical therapist elsewhere. Maybe take two weeks to think about it while you stay off that foot of yours, elevating it and icing it multiple times a day.” I didn't take anymore time being in that exam room with him.
“It's been a real pleasure, Mr. Scholtz. Have a good day.”
Yes, I could have given him the facts in a much more sympathetic and far less cold way, like I do with all my other clients. But it was a way of pushing him off my plate so I wouldn't have to work with him. And maybe he needed a little ice cold talk to wake his cocky ass up and face reality!