Karen Roesch OTR/L brings her years of athletic competition and coaching to her practice of occupational therapy
Karen Roesch was an undergraduate at Salisbury University in Maryland with three majors – exercise physiology, physical education and athletic training. She had the chance to observe in a hospital where she saw nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy in action. It was there that Karen decided on becoming an occupational therapist, because “it seemed like OT was the most creative, and one could think out of the box.”
Karen went on to graduate school at Tufts University, where she was the first exercise science major accepted into the OT program. Tufts gave her a free ride in return for coaching field hockey and lacrosse. In addition to being in graduate school and coaching, Karen worked to pay her rent. “I loved it! I was also a lifeguard, and worked in a grocery store – whatever it took to pay the bills.”
Karen returned to Galloway, where she grew up, and did an internship at Bacharach, after which she was offered a job. She started in September, 1991.
Karen treating tennis elbow
Her competitive sports background comes into focus with each new patient. “Each person as a game I want to win. I push to get the better outcomes. I have a semi-pro weight lifter who is back 100%. I had a professional piano player with a nerve injury in her neck causing numbness in her fingers. She got back to playing and we went to see her in one of the casinos.”
Asked how occupational therapy has evolved over the course of her career, Karen said, “Changes in surgical techniques, protocols and treatment are occurring all the time. We are continuously researching and keeping up with the changes. Today, we are using IASTM, Kinesio Taping, Graded Mirror Imagery and Primus. We are seeing gains in the client’s functional outcomes by implementing these techniques in our treatment sessions.”