BANGS — Delesa Wise drove past the Bangs Physical Therapy Center numerous times as she traveled between her then-home in Austin and her native Coleman.
Wise is a 2014 graduate of the physical therapy program at Texas State University, and the Bangs clinic caught her attention.
“Any time a physical therapist sees a clinic that says physical therapy, we immediately go, ‘oh! That’s kind of cool,’” Wise said one recent morning in the clinic where she now works — the Bangs Physical Therapy Center.
“And I thought it was really neat that it was in a small town that was close to my home town. So I’ve been aware of this clinic for many years, just making miles driving back and forth to visit home.”
Wise, 31, ended up moving back to Coleman in March, where she lives with her husband, Hayden. She began working in the Bangs clinic in September.
Sara Young and Stephanie Young are the clinic’s owners, and
Sara Young described Wise as “a new, exciting resource for those in Brown County.” That’s because Wise specializes as a near-physical therapist who provides therapy for patients with neurological issues.
Wise has a doctorate in physical therapy and is a board-certified neurologic clinical specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy specialties.
She specializes in treating patients with a variety of neurological issues including stroke, inner ear disorders, concussion, Parkin’s disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury , amputees — which includes prosthetic training — spinal cord injury and others including Guillain-Barre Syndrome and ALS.
Patients needing physical therapy for those issues usually have to be referred to larger cities, Young said.
“This area’s very rural and people are having to be sent out (to see) a special board certified therapist like her,” Young said.”For us to have her is a blessing.”
Wise’s decision to become a physical therapist was an accident — literally.
As Wise prepared to leave high school, she planned to enter Texas Tech University as a pre-dental major.
“My senior of high school, I was involved in a car accident with my family,” Wise said. “We were on our way to go skiing in New Mexico for spring break, and we were in a serious automobile accident.”
Wise sustained a broken nose in the accident — not an injury that could be helped by physical therapy.
Her parents, though, underwent physical therapy through the Coleman hospital. “I thought it was fascinating,” Wise said.
Encouraged by her parents — who made a full recovery — Wise decided she was going to become a physical therapist and changed her major at Texas Tech to exercise science.
After graduating from Texas Tech, Wise was accepted into the Texas State University physical therapy program. “Going through therapy school, even getting in to physical therapy school, is increasingly challenging each year,” Wise said.
“When I was applying to get into Texas State’s program they took 40 out of 400 applicants and now I think the application pool has doubled. I think a lot of it was (my parents’) encouragement that I could do it, because it’s a lot of schooling.”
Wise explained how she decided to specialize in physical therapy for neurological disorders.
“I first became interested in the field of neurology with my volunteer work through West Texas Rehab Center's Camp Rehab,” Wise said. “Coleman High School's Student Council members would volunteer for a week every summer at this camp. We would serve as ‘buddies’ to the children receiving neurologic therapy services through WTRC.
“I actually thought I wanted to be a pediatric physical therapist, but quickly changed my mind after completing one of my clinical rotations at Transitional Learning Center (TLC) in Lubbock.”
TLC is a center that specializing his helping adults return to the community after experiencing brain injury, Wise said.
Before joining the Bangs clinic, Wise practiced as a physical therapist in inpatient and outpatient settings in Austin.
“I worked in the in-patient rehab program at St. David’s Medical Center,” Wise said. “St. David’s as a whole is the go-to facility in Austin for patients that have different neurological disorders. I worked specifically with patients with neurological deficits — primarily brain injury related to stroke. I worked with a lot of amputees. I actually worked on the prosthetic training floor there for a few years. and then after working in that area for a couple of years I decided I wanted to specialize.”
When Wise moved back to Coleman, she’d already heard “good things about Sara and her clinic,” Wise said. “We had a mutual contact that got us together. I came over here and met Sara and Stephanie and they offered me a position.”
In addition to her practice at the Bangs clinic, Wise also offers services at a couple of Coleman nursing homes and the Coleman hospital.
Wise explained what she likes about working as a physical therapist.
“Working with the patients, getting to meet them, learning their story, learning ways to help them get through their day-to-day life a little bit easier,” Wise said. “That is what keeps me in this field.”