Athlete Spotlight: Alexa Tolitano

Posted 1/7/2015 in Athlete Spotlight | 4562 view(s) | 0 comment(s)

Alexa Tolitano

Western Michigan University

Dance Major

Working in the sports medicine field, we are able to see exceptional athletes on a daily basis. In our Athlete Spotlight, we focus 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.

Q: As a dance major in college, how do you balance dance, school, and extra activities? Any advice for others thinking of following the same path?

Alexa: “Being a dance major can be very difficult with technique classes, dance theory classes, general education classes, auditions, rehearsals and extra activities so being able to manage your time is most important. The first thing I learned in college (while having a very full schedule) was how to manage my time. You have to put your priorities first and knowing how much your schedule and how much your body can handle. Also, being on top of your schoolwork should come first. I always like to stay busy and found that I did better in school when I was participating in more with a full schedule. My advice would be to make sure to manage your time as well as take on as much as you know you can handle. It’s great to get involved in college so make sure you can fully invest yourself in everything you do. It is definitely worth it in the end and I can gladly say I participated in everything I had hoped of in college.”

 Q: How has being proactive with your health (through physical therapy, strength classes, etc) helped you in preventing injuries and having to take time off? 

Alexa: “Being proactive with physical therapy has made huge improvements with my back. I have felt less pain and felt that I was not as limited in doing daily activities as I once was. By keeping up with my exercises I have noticed more strength and flexibility as well being able to dance for longer periods of time without pain. Being proactive has helped with injury prevention to make sure I'm doing everything possible to avoid further injuries to myself while staying healthy.”

Q: How has injury affected your passion for dance? Was there a time when you almost lost your passion?

Alexa: “I have been dealing with my back injury for about four or five years now and there definitely have been moments when I was second guessing dancing. Dance is physically and mentally hard on the body and when injuries occur, you start to lose that passion and drive. When coming to college with my back injury, I had started to have doubts about making the right decision of becoming a dance major due to the pain and health risks. I had never been told to stop dancing but the thought of permanently injuring my body was stuck in the back of my mind. I knew dance was something I was not ready to give up and I would do whatever it took to get better. I had been to several doctors and physical therapists about my back but it wasn’t until I had gone to Achieve Physical Therapy that I started to see improvements and notice relief. I am forever grateful for the staff’s hard work, patience, and support with my back and for everything they have done for me. I knew dance was something I wanted to do in college and life after college because I couldn’t see my life without it. Even with the small chance I thought about quitting, that only made me realize how important it is and how much it is a part of my life. When injuries come and go, by staying positive and reminding yourself of your dreams will make a huge impact even if your injuries set you a few steps back.”

Q: Tell us about your future career aspirations. Do you want to continue with dancing?

Alexa: “After finishing college at Western Michigan University and getting my BA in Dance and minor in Event Planning, I want to move to California to pursue commercial work. My dream is to do music videos, awards shows, and become a back up dancer for famous artists. I would also love to travel with a professional touring company or possibly dance in Cirque De Soleil shows. Hopefully after having a successful career in dance, I would then move back to Chicago to be a dance teacher as well as having a career in event planning. These have been my dreams and goals since I can remember and I hope to accomplish them in the near future.”

Have an athlete that you want to recognize? Whether you’re an elite runner, casual cyclist, high school football player, ex-cheerleader, high school ballet dancer or retired gymnast, we want to hear about your accomplishments! Email to be a part of the next Athlete Spotlight. #achievemore


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