Working in the sports medicine field, we are able to see exceptional athletes on a daily basis. In our Athlete Spotlight, we will be focusing on athletes of all ages, specialty, and level. During injury, physical therapy, or off-time, athletes tend to lose their sense of self, or purpose. Understanding how others are able to be proactive and Achieve their goals is important to the healing aspect we treat everyday.
Mackenzie “Macko” Caquatto
University of Florida 2011-2014
Q: Tell us how you kept as healthy as possible over the years?
Macko: “As an athlete, it was really important to stay strong and do conditioning on a daily basis to keep as healthy as possible throughout the year. I would attend physical therapy on a weekly basis to strengthen my body, focusing on weaker areas that needed to be strong in order to stay healthy in my sport. I also had to make sure to eat right and get the right amount of sleep that my body needed. All of these things played a factor in my success as an athlete.”
Q: How did being proactive instead of reactive in regards to getting injured help you stay healthy?
Macko: “Attending physical therapy on a weekly basis helped me become a proactive athlete when it came to injuries. My physical therapist, Gina, knew exactly what muscles and ligaments needed to be strengthened in order to excel at the elite level and reach my goals as a gymnast. We would focus on injured parts of my body, weaker areas of my body or the smaller parts of my body that did not get strengthened from the conditioning we did at practice on a daily basis. In gymnastics, we do a lot of body weight conditioning that focuses on the larger muscle groups. At physical therapy, we focused on the smaller muscle groups, which was a big factor in the success I had.”
Q: What role did physical therapy play in your success?
Macko: “My physical therapy played a huge role in my success as a gymnast. I would not be where I am today without the help from my wonderful physical therapist. I went to physical therapy on a weekly basis and made sure to do my exercises on a daily basis when I wasnʼt able to see my physical therapist. Attending physical therapy helped keep my body strong, heal injured body parts and prevent any other injuries from occurring. For me, physical therapy wasnʼt just to heal current injuries, but also to prevent more injuries from occurring. At physical therapy I was able to focus on specific body parts that needed to be strong to excel in my sport. My physical therapist also became a good friend of mine and was always there to encourage me in times of frustration along the way. Gina always wanted to see me succeed and would do anything to help me reach my biggest career goals. Without physical therapy, I would not have as many accomplishments as I do today.”
Q: What was the most challenging injury to come back from?
Macko: “The most challenging injury I had to come back from was a third degree sprain in both of my ankles at the same time. I tore almost all the ligaments in my ankles. I had to use a wheel chair for a while because I was unable to walk. I then rocked two boots around campus for about six months while attending physical therapy on a daily basis. I then had ankle surgery on both my ankles at the same time and it was back to the wheel chair and a lot of physical therapy for me. As a retired gymnast, I still attend physical therapy twice a week.”
Have an athlete that you want to recognize? Whether youʼre an elite runner, casual cyclist, high school football player, ex-cheerleader, or retired gymnast, we want to hear about your accomplishments. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be a part of the next Athlete Spotlight.