On the battleground, audiences are the ones cheering on athletes, especially during their best moments. But they do not see the athletes enduring trying times when they are not under the spotlight.

An athlete’s greatest investment is the body. It is their armory—their source of greatness. Countless hours are spent everyday in training to stay in shape and be ready for competitions. However, with all these efforts to ready their body for battle, athletes cannot avoid experiencing the aches and pains that accompany the process of achieving their finest form and peak performance. Injuries happen, keeping them days, weeks, or even months hurting. The worst that could happen? They can no longer play the sport they have always dreamed and continue to dream of conquering.

Injuries are an athlete’s nightmare, that is why physical therapists (PTs) are deemed as unsung heroes that help athletes get back up until they are able to climb back to the podium once again. PTs push athletes forward and onward after every setback and injury, watching their every step toward the path to full recovery. But, what we know is only a piece of the bigger puzzle of what they really do.

Given the fact that DLSU sends athletes to compete in the UAAP, the Office of Sports and Development (OSD) assigns PTs to handle several of the Lasallian sports varsity teams. With this, The LaSallian catches up with PT Bernadeth Shiella Cabaluna, who has been serving the Green-and-White since 2016.

Pain and progress

Allowing an athlete to compete is one of the most challenging encounters PT Shiella has ever faced. “’Yun siguro kasi mataas yung pressure para sa amin dun, so once hindi namin sila na-clear [through] proper treatment, hindi sila agad makakabalik dun sa sport nila,” she explains.

(That is when it’s most pressuring for us, so once we are not able to clear them through proper treatment immediately, they would not be able to play in their sport.)

As the UAAP is the prime tournament of any athlete in college, it is when PT Shiella notably doubles her efforts to assure the physical conditions of the players, especially for those not allowed to participate and get sidelined due to health reasons. “Syempre, medyo kahit papano, heartbroken din kami na hindi makakalaro yung athlete pagka-injured sila. ‘Yun yung hardest part kasi somehow naaapektuhan din kami emotionally,” she laments.

(Of course, we feel heartbroken that an athlete will not be able to play when they are injured. That is the hardest part because somehow, we get affected emotionally as well.)

In every season’s run, she discloses that her role as a PT keeps her occupied. “Demanding ‘pag UAAP season kasi wala na kaming weekends kasi usually games [are held during] weekends. ‘Yun talaga yung nasasakop, nakakain nila yung time namin,” she elaborates. 

(It is demanding during the UAAP season since we do not have weekends anymore because usually, games are held during weekends. That is when our time gets occupied.)

Nevertheless, she is grateful for the understanding and support of her family with her career. Whenever it is offseason, PT Shiella takes her time to spend the break with her loved ones. “Kapag offseason, I make sure na umuuwi ako every weekend and pumupunta ako sa ibang place to hangout,” she says with a smile.

(During offseason, I make sure I go home every weekend and go to different places to hangout.)

The will to continue

Para na kaming family,” reasons PT Shiella when asked as to why she still serves the University. In the three years that she has worked in the OSD,  PT Shiella found a sense of belonging and has built good friendships in her working environment. 

(We’re already like family.)

Aside from being at peace in her workplace, another factor that makes the physical therapist stay is the Lasallian blood that flows in her veins, apart from her dream to work for the Green-and-White. “Nung internship, [I worked here] for a month. Na-experience [ko] kung paano yung work as PT and also yung environment,” she shares.

(During internship, I worked here for a month. I experienced how it is to work as a PT and also the environment.)

With the next season of UAAP just around the corner, the Lasallian athletes have to ready their weapons for the upcoming battles they have to endure to bring glory to their Alma Mater. Fortunately, there are physical therapists, just like PT Shiella, who are taking care of them and monitoring their well-being to ensure they will perform at their best.

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