Accident leads to new beginnings

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

An unfortunate accident on a camping trip that resulted in a back injury is the reason Kelsey Schmidt got interested in physiotherapy.

“I was lifting a canoe onto my shoulders and I hurt my back,” Schmidt, a registered physiotherapist and part owner at Wright Physiotherapy in Fort Frances, said. “And at the time, there was no physiotherapist in Atikokan. I sought a chiropractor and they fixed up my back pain, which was great. And then that’s when I got interested in the rehab field.”

Schmidt was born and raised in Atikokan. Growing up on the lake, she embraces the outdoors, and has been quite an athlete, practicing volleyball, basketball, badminton, curling, swimming and baseball.

Following eight years of schooling in southern Ontario, Schmidt finally moved to Fort Frances in 2016 with her husband Adam, who she met in London, Ontario. Schmidt has an undergraduate degree in health science from Western University and a masters in physiotherapy from McMaster University.

“My husband is a paramedic. So we really loved Fort Frances and decided to stay here and start our family,” Schmidt said. “We now have two young boys and a dog. We do a lot of walking. We love the riverfront and we walk the 8th Street trails. Before the boys were born, we’d go cross country skiing at Rocky Inlet.”

The Schmidts lead a very busy life with demanding jobs. Having two-year-old and six-month-old boys, they have a very organized schedule.

“I have a very supportive husband; we’re really a good team,” Schmidt said. “It is hard for sure. I just came back to work full time two weeks ago. I took a six month maternity leave. And now my husband’s actually taking parental leave right now. So he’s taking care of the baby. My son goes to daycare. We don’t have a ton of help from the immediate family.”

Schmidt said being part of the Fort Frances community brings her joy, adding that the best part of her job is just getting to chat with different people from around the community.

“And especially in a small town, you can usually make connections with people, either you have mutual friends or acquaintances,” she added. “I can usually find something that connects me with a person. And that’s only something you get in a small town, you would never get that in a big city.”

One area that Schmidt has been learning a lot more about is pelvic health in relation to physiotherapy, called pelvic floor physiotherapy or women’s health physiotherapy. Schmidt cites her maternal experience with having two babies and said pelvic health is a huge area that needs to be addressed that has been lacking.

“There’s not a whole lot of services for pretty much anyone who’s ever had a baby or anybody who’s had any kind of pelvic floor issues,” Schmidt said. “We usually have to send people out of town. It’s been nice to learn more about that topic and offer some services here, in relation to women’s health.”

Men too could have pelvic floor treatment and it encompasses anything from urinary incontinence to prolapse to lower back pain. But Schmidt said it is more common in women who have babies.Not being afraid of trying something new is what drove Schmidt to leave Atikokan and try physiotherapy.

“It can be scary. And it is hard sometimes to jump in and do what you want to do,” Schmidt said. “We all start out somewhere. Everybody starts out as a student, and you’re only going to learn something if you try it and put yourself out there.”