The MedRisk Blog
When chief executive officer and director Reid Elam co-founded Elam Sports O’ahu in 1999, he wanted to give back to his community. He recognized that although his hometown of Kapolei was rich with industrial complexes and military training centers, the area lacked one very important support system.
“When we opened, there were no other outpatient physical therapy clinics in this area. Our clinic is here because we wanted to serve those in the community who didn’t have access to this type of care,” Elam said.
Today, MedRisk clients know Elam Sports for its holistic approach to workers’ comp care which, for many companies, begins before injury even occurs. Employers often engage Elam Sports to conduct pre-employment interviews for their workers so if rehabilitation is needed, a patient history has already been established. In addition to helping workers to return from injury, this MedRisk provider further supports workforce performance with functional capacity evaluation as well as work conditioning and work hardening services.
According to Elam, the lines between these services often blur.
“Some physical therapists look at a sprain and just treat it as a sprain. We look at the whole person. We want to make sure that a worker can accomplish what they need to accomplish,” Elam said.
The clinic utilizes an approach that blends work injury therapy with tactical and sports training—what is known to the Elam Sports team as “SWaT” (sports, workers and tactical). For workers’ comp cases, Elam says this approach is often paired with a focus on natural human movement. Treatment takes into account seven core movements required to perform proficiently (e.g., balancing, lifting, walking), so problem areas are not isolated from other parts of the body on which they are physically dependent.
“We think that a lot of body mechanics rely on being in alignment,” Elam said. “If you’re trying to treat a singular body part with the rest of the body being out of alignment, it’s harder to get anything accomplished.”
Elam Sports carries this holistic approach into its operational philosophy as well. Utilizing a multidisciplinary team (MDT) model of care, each treatment plan is led by a physical therapist and supported by a lineup of specialists, ranging from massage therapists to strength and conditioning experts, who continue to learn and adopt leading-edge therapies.
“Our clinic has the only pool on the west side of O’ahu,” Elam said. “And we’ve seen that aqua therapy is a good adjunct to what we do. It helps people get early motion before we get into lab-based therapy.”
Having a range of in-house expertise allows the team to customize treatment to each patient and take full advantage of the center’s collective know-how, which ultimately results in exceptional service to employers, doctors and patients.
“Here we say that we serve ‘from keiki to kupuna’—that is, from kids to grandparents—people of all ages and all walks of life. We consider it a noble profession to help people regain their quality of life, and we do our best to do that every day.”
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