Little Victories

PT Ethan Burger Says Small Goals Lead to Big Accomplishments

February 23, 2018
ETHAN BURGER, DPT: I try to help people one step at a time-- one block at a time, two blocks at a time. There's always steps involved in therapy, and that's the first thing we establish with the patient on the first day is where your goal is, and how can we get you there? As little or as big as it is, it's those little victories-- those little things-- that make people's days, and weeks, and lives.

Physical therapy is putting the body back together-- trying to take someone from injury status to where they were before they were injured. I do work with pretty much all different injuries-- post-surgery, from 5-year-olds to 95-year-olds. I take care of a rugby team, the New York Athletic Club. Some people call me Coach.

You're guiding them through the process of getting them where you need or want to get them, or they want you to get them-- always progressing towards a goal, making sure you can bend the knee more, straighten the knee more, and working towards functional goals, and explaining how we're getting closer to the goal. My professors at Touro inspired me to become who I am today by one simple word-- practice, practice, practice.

Touro led me to my success. Touro molded me to become a successful physical therapist. The goal of every therapist is to help people on their journey to recovery, and that is what I do every single day-- getting people back to where they were before, to where they want to be. At the end of the day, the greatest reward is seeing the smile on someone's face when they're able to do things they wanted to do.

When he was 15, Ethan Burger realized he couldn’t move his elbow. When an MRI and an X-ray didn’t reveal anything, he visited a physical therapist who, not only helped him recover, but gave him the idea of pursuing a career in physical therapy.

“Physical therapy is about putting the body back together,” explained Burger, a graduate of Touro College School of Health Sciences (SHS) Doctor of Physical Therapy program and a therapist and clinical supervisor at Star Physical Therapy. “It’s taking someone with an injury and helping them get back to where they were before their injury.”

After graduating the College of Charleston, Burger attended SHS’s DPT program in Manhattan.

“The professors were awesome, we had a great class size and we were in a great location,” stated Burger. “My professors inspired me to become the person I am today.”

Since graduating, he has worked as a physical therapist Star Physical Therapy in New York City, where he had one of his internships as a doctoral candidate. He also pursued additional certification as an athletic trainer and a sports specialist. In addition, to his work at Star Physical Therapy, Burger indulges in his love of sports by taking care of a Rugby team, the New York Athletic Club. (Some players call him coach!)

“With our patients, we’re always working towards their goals—whether it’s moving a knee a bit more or being able to walk again,” Burger explained.

Part of his success, Burger believes, is his focus on the small accomplishments his patients make during each visit.

“It’s the little victories that make people’s days, weeks and lives,” said Burger.

Burger loves hearing from his patients after their treatment is completed. He especially likes receiving photographs of them doing the activities they love—playing baseball, hockey and skiing—that they are once again able to enjoy.