February 6, 2023
Gabriel Flores’ commute to school may be over an hour, but he’s always been driven to go the extra mile to help a fellow veteran.
Injured while serving in the Army, Gabriel Flores has experienced physical therapy firsthand and now wants to help other veterans going through a similar experience.
“I’m willing to make the drive,” he said. “I want to give to the VA field and help my fellow veterans.”
While Gabriel’s experience as a PT patient was not what he had hoped for recovery-wise, it helped inspire him to give back to veterans in a way he knew would impact their lives directly.
Flores said he still has physical limitations from his military injuries and, after hearing from other soldiers in his unit about their experiences, eventually decided to enroll in the Physical Therapist Assistant program at American Career College-Orange County to begin his journey to help veterans recover.
“(Being in the military) is hard enough coming out with an injury,” he said. “I want to get into the PTA field to lift the standards and work with veterans.”
As he inches closer to his graduation date, Flores said he’s been impressed by the depth of learning the PTA program has provided him in all aspects of his field.
“I’ve learned that there’s a lot to being a PTA,” he said. “It’s more than just exercises. There’s a whole neuro function to it.”
For Gabriel, the most challenging aspect of being a PTA is thinking on his feet when working with a patient.
“You always need to have a game plan, noticing when and how to progress or regress any exercise to meet the patient’s need,” he said.
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