Heather takes a holistic, personalized approach to her work as an athletic trainer. For her, being an effective trainer isn’t just about helping her student athletes stay safe and healthy. It’s also about using the Applied Functional Science (AFS) principles of treating athletes’ minds, bodies, and spirits, and showing them love.
Heather Takes Treating Student Athletes Personally
Heather is the athletic trainer at Lenawee Christian School, in Adrian, Michigan. She’s worked with the school’s middle and high school athletes for nearly eight years. Her position is contracted through a local physical therapy clinic, 3DPT (3-Dimensional Physical Therapy), so she also spends time working there.
“Every year has its troubles and triumphs,” Heather says. “Some years, you look back and celebrate the amazing things that happened, like state championships and little to no injuries. Other years, you look back on injuries that occurred and think, ‘what could I have done better to have helped my athletes?’ It’s exciting getting to celebrate with teams when they have successful seasons, and it's heartbreaking yet an honor walking alongside athletes who have a season-ending injury. I strive to let both troubles and triumphs drive me to dive deeper into AFS because I believe AFS is the best approach to helping my athletes become the best versions of themselves.”
A Three-Dimensional Approach Keeps Heather Focused on What Matters Most
Heather was introduced to Gray Institute® and AFS in 2013. She had just graduated college and decided to enroll in Gray Institute’s Certification in Applied Functional Science (CAFS). The certification changed her perspective completely. Instead of simply following set protocols, she began to assess her clients’ unique needs using the scientific truths of human function.
Her team at 3DPT was another significant driver in her shift in perspective. The clinic embraces AFS and the teachings of Dr. Gary Gray, and Heather immediately fell in love with the approach.
“AFS and love are the foundation on which 3DPT is built,” Heather says of her clinic’s approach. “Those values are also what drive me at my school, in the clinic, and in life. 3DPT has shown me what this looks like over the last 7 ½ years, and I hope to continue to grow in AFS and love and live it out for years to come.”
Deeper Education, Continue Her Journey With Gray Institute Support
Since completing her first course, Heather has taken several other Gray Institute certifications and specializations, including 3DMAPSâ, Chain Reactionâ, Female Chain Reaction, and even the GIFT fellowship in 2019. Heather says they are the best investments she could have made.
“[GIFT] transformed what I was doing from good to great. My work went from one-dimensional to three-dimensional; from treating a body to treating the mind, body, and spirit; and from the mindset of ‘that’s how I was taught to treat that’ to treating each person as an individual.”
Heather continues, “I have learned “love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.” [This comes from] 1 Corinthians 13:7. So when injuries happen, I turn to AFS and love.”
Even though she’s made remarkable strides as a practitioner and in her perspective, Heather has big plans to continue her learning journey. Because her clinic embraces AFS, Heather feels supported and encouraged to keep going because “there is so much more to learn.”
A Focus on the Whole Person Sets Gray Institute Apart
Heather deeply appreciates Gray Institute’s focus on people as unique individuals who have physical, spiritual, and mental needs. Instead of treating pain or dysfunction as an isolated symptom, AFS teaches that everything is connected; something that happens in one part of the body impacts what happens elsewhere.
“[With AFS,] you learn how to apply strategies that take you from protocol-driven treatments to treating each person as an individual. You learn to start with their success and then tweak from their success to reach their end goal.”
She continues, “AFS helps my athletes be the best version of themselves physically, spiritually and mentally. AFS has also taught me how to be the best version of myself. I encourage others to take the leap into AFS—you won't regret it!”
Learn to Treat and Train in 3D With Gray Institute
If you’re ready to become the best version of yourself and help your patients, clients, or athletes do the same, you’re in the right place. We’re proud to empower practitioners like Heather with the educational tools and supportive mindset they need to achieve their goals.
To learn more about what sets AFS apart, which course is right for you, or how we can support you in your educational journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out. It’s our honor to speak with passionate professionals about their goals and we are ready to hear your story. To learn more, simply reach out to us for a free consultation, or visit our course page to learn more.