Success Stories

At EXCEL, we take great pride in helping patients get back to the things they love. These are just a few of the stories we’re so proud to be a part of.

Meet John, a survivor of 9/11-related male breast cancer

In March 2018, John was diagnosed with male breast cancer that has been certified as 9/11-related. One month later, he had a double mastectomy to remove the cancerous tumors from his chest.

“My arms and chest were totally immobile and swollen,” says John. “As the swelling subsided, I desperately wanted to get my range of motion back. I’m a triathlete and avid golfer and bowler. Thinking that I was never going to be able to perform these sports like I did before my surgery was depressing and always in the back of my mind. But instead of waiting around to see how it all turned out I decided to take action. I sought the help of Excel Physical Therapy.

EXCEL has a great reputation and a local office in my town of Oakland. I met with Jeff Ziegler [Clinic Director, EXCEL Oakland] whom I knew from the Triathlon world in the area. I chose him because he being an athlete understood my concerns. After working with Jeff for about 6 weeks I was able to attend my annual golf trip and play multiple rounds pain free. Not only that but I’m now training for a triathlon and bowling twice a week in my bowling leagues. I even bowled a perfect game in November. Something I thought would never happen again.

I can’t thank Jeff and Excel enough for getting me back to my pre surgery days. They truly understand the athlete in every one of us.

Meet Matt, a high school basketball and lacrosse player

Matt hurt his hip playing lacrosse and ended up in the hospital with a staph infection, after which he could barely even walk. After about ten weeks of treatment at EXCEL, he was able to get back to sports.

Matt says, “They made me want to come in and get the work done.” We’re so proud to have been a part of his recovery. 

Meet the dedicated teachers and coaches who go above and beyond

These teachers and coaches go above and beyond daily for their students and players. We are proud to have been able to offer the same type of care for them when they needed it. 

Patricia, a health and phys ed teacher and softball/basketball coach, always enjoyed an active lifestyle. Prior to rupturing her right achilles playing pickup basketball with some of her players, she was accustomed to going to the gym 5-6 days a week, running with her dog, and more. After her injury, she contacted EXCEL physical therapist Nicole, a former student of hers. “She was amazing. Literally I felt like a shell of myself and she was encouraging, professional, knowledgeable, and it was a big role reversal. She coached me just like I used to do for her.” 

Marc, a speech language teacher, came to EXCEL for herniated discs in his back, then for plantar fasciitis, then later for torn labrums. “My experience was exceptional. You walk in and not just your therapist knows you but everybody knows you, it’s such a pickup. I was in a lot of pain, getting kind of depressed about it, would have a bad day at work, going there just lifted me.” 

Caitlin, a high school history teacher and varsity dance team coach, had always been very active. A fractured right kneecap from her school days caught up with her 10 years later when she was diagnosed with stage 2 arthritis. Caitlin says of EXCEL, “Once I walked through those doors, I love it every time I go. They’re so attentive, they’re really well-prepared. I’m back to standing for hours at a time, wearing heels, and working out.”

Jaclyn, a phys ed/health teacher and sports coach, tore her ACL/MCL meniscus in her left knee. Her doctor insisted on three weeks of pre-hab and at least 6 months of rehab after surgery. Initially nervous upon coming to EXCEL, she ultimately was able to make great strides even before surgery. At the time of this video, Jaclyn was still on crutches but well on her way to resuming her normal active lifestyle. 

We’ll keep you moving forward.

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Meet Chris and Kylie Pucci

Chris is a tennis pro who competes in the International Tennis Federation, playing in the Men’s 35 circuit. When he found himself struggling to maintain his top 100 world ranking, he sought out EXCEL for an injury prevention program. He was able to move his rankings back up and finish 5th nationally in grass courts. 

When Chris’ daughter Kylie began playing girls varsity soccer in her freshman year of high school, Chris saw how many girls were getting hurt and wanted to make sure Kylie didn’t become one of these injury statistics. “It’s not easy for a parent to give their child to someone and hope the training is done right.” 

Kylie says, “Before the high school season started, I knew that coming to EXCEL and working on these ACL prevention drills would be helpful. There’s no wasted time, it’s all serious, it’s really personal, they make it so fun. Not only do I feel stronger on the field, I have more confidence in myself, I’ve done what i need to do to perform.”

Meet Chris and Nina Strattner

Both Chris and his grandmother Nina have been patients of EXCEL’s, albeit for very different reasons! Chris is an Ironman triathlete, Rockland County Police Sergeant, and SWAT member. Unbeknownst to him, he broke his femur as a child, which resulted in significant bone deterioration and pain 35 years later. Several doctors told Chris that he’d never run or walk normally again, much less compete in triathlon. After a serious surgery that involved a bone graft and several pins being inserted, Chris’ surgeon said that there were very few physical therapists that he was willing to let him work with. “I think half of the reason I did so well at EXCEL is because they took someone who’s maybe a little obsessive-compulsive and were able to sculpt the therapy as much to my body as my mind. They pushed me when I needed to be pushed and held me back when I needed to be held back.” 

Chris’ grandmother Nina admittedly spent her whole life avoiding exercise and physical activity, however, after a fall, her physician recommended physical therapy. Nina had such a positive experience at EXCEL that she even chose to join a gym after leaving our care. We’d consider both of these cases a wholehearted win.

Meet Chris, Summer, and Slater Neborsky 

Chris, a self-described IT guy, recreational surfer, and Ironman competitor, first came to EXCEL after suffering a broken elbow. “I feel like I was treated like a sports hero. They treat you with the same type of care that they treat everyone with.” 

Chris’ children Summer and Slater also both joined the EXCEL family. Summer, a former high school track and field/cross country athlete came to EXCEL with bilateral knee pain. After working with her therapist, she was able to get back to training and complete three triathlons. Her time spent at EXCEL actually inspired her to pursue a career in physical therapy. 

Slater (joining the conversation via Facetime), who broke his wrist playing ice hockey during his senior year of high school, added, “I’d probably be in a much worse spot without you guys.” 

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