therapist Rick Wagner of Body Renovation Physical Therapy in
Grafton helped competitive runner Cristin Van Driel rejuvenate
her body from the ill effects of an accident years ago. She is
training to qualify for the 2012 Olympic marathon trials.
Cristin Van Driel was cycling in July
of 2000 when a 16-year-old driver hit her at 55 mph. When the teen
took her eyes off the road to change a CD, Van Driel was thrown 30 to
40 feet and landed on the car’s windshield. She suffered a broken
back, crushed ribs and a concussion, as well as other serious
Van Driel, 29, was forced to turn to
physical therapy to help repair both her body and her spirit. "I
felt that there was a reason I was not paralyzed and that I was given
the chance to use the gift of running to inspire others and show
others that with perseverance and determination you can overcome major
setbacks," Van Driel says.
"There were many points while
recovering that I wanted to give up," the Grafton resident says.
"I remember the first time I was allowed to go outside (about
three weeks after the accident). It took me an hour to walk less than
Van Driel also credits her good health
and fitness to her successful recovery. "All the doctors and my
physical therapist, Rick (Wagner of Body Renovation Physical Therapy),
have told me numerous times that I recover much faster because of my
overall strength and fitness level."
"The first time you talk to
Cristin you just feel the passion in her spirit," Wagner says.
"It’s that drive and motivation and that inability to not
succeed at doing something that has really helped getting her to the
point where she is today," he says.
When Van Driel sought Wagner’s help
in January 2008, she was on crutches and unable to put any weight on
her left hip due to a stress fracture sustained from her rigorous
running schedule of more than 100 miles a week. Though Van Driel was
training hard and fighting through the pain, her body had never fully
healed from the accident, Wagner says. "Her body was a broken
down machine that needed to be retooled a bit," Wagner says. They
worked on improving her strength, core, flexibility and mobility.
"She’s a much smarter athlete now than she was a year
ago," Wagner says.
Now Van Driel is a certified personal
trainer at Form & Fitness in Mequon, and coaches runners through
her own company, Ultimate Stamina, where she specializes in coaching
and training. She uses lessons learned from the physical therapy
experience to coach runners, and in her daily life as a competitive
runner. "I can relate to clients who might be struggling with
injuries or illnesses. However, I also have learned the importance of
listening to what your body is telling you. What might work for one
person will probably not work for another," Van Driel says.
Van Driel trains two to three hours
daily, in addition to continued physical therapy and coaching. Her
personal strength creates a Lance Armstrong-like philosophy for
herself and her clients: "Never give up. Quitting lasts