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Beyond the Track: Kendra Lund’s Transition from Athlete to Physical Therapist

Published in Rehabilitation Services, Medical Professionals Author: Kendra Lund,DPT

As a former high school and collegiate athlete, Kendra Lund, DPT had a remarkable career on the track and in the gym. Now, Kendra has transitioned her passion for sports into her profession as a physical therapist. With a new perspective on injury prevention and healing, Kendra is using her past experiences and newfound knowledge to help athletes stay in the game. Not only is Kendra pursuing the career she loves, she also gets to work on a team with the person who inspired her to become a therapist: her older brother Adam. From athlete to therapist, Kendra has found her place in New London/Spicer.

Becoming an Athlete

Growing up in rural Benson, MN, Kendra was active in several activities including Tae Kwon Do, volleyball, dance, basketball, track & field, and cross country. Among these, she found that running was her true passion. From 8th grade on, Kendra competed in the Minnesota State High School Track and Field Championships five times, winning titles in both the 300-meter hurdles and the 1600-meter relay.

Her success with the Benson-KMS Brave’s helped Kendra earn a scholarship to compete at the collegiate level. She attended Minnesota State University, Moorhead (MSUM), running the 400-meter hurdles and 1600-meter relay for the Dragons. Kendra highlighted her career with a trip to the NCAA National Championships among other memorable meets. “It was an amazing time in my life,” Kendra said. “I created many fond memories with my teammates while enjoying once in a lifetime experiences.”

Following Her Big Brother’s Footsteps

While in Moorhead, Kendra earned her degree in Biology with an emphasis in the medical field. She continued her education at the University of Jamestown in Fargo, ND where she attended graduate school for physical therapy. These were Kendra’s first steps towards becoming the physical therapist she aspired to be.

Kendra had established her strong interest in the anatomical and human sciences during high school thanks to her older brother’s Adam influence. Adam is currently a clinical instructor and has been a therapist for nearly 10 years. “As much as I like to think I came up with the idea on my own, Adam was a big part of my choice to pursue a career in physical therapy,” Kendra reflected. “The more I learned about the field the more I wanted to be a part of it.”

As a physical therapist, Adam recognizes Kendra’s knack for the field. “Kendra is a natural fit into this profession,” Adam said. “She has a methodical approach to problem solving and will search tirelessly to find the correct answer.”

During Kendra’s time in school, Adam was also able to help her answer questions and make decisions regarding clinical locations. This was part of the reason Kendra chose to do her final clinical rotation at the ACMC Willmar Skylark clinic where her brother works. It was then at that she fell in love with ACMC, deciding it would be the perfect place for her to build a practice. “I thoroughly enjoyed the setting, the people, and my peers,” Kendra remembered. “It was a great fit for me and I was overjoyed to find a position with a clinic that puts the patients at the forefront of care.”

Accepting a position at ACMC-New London/Spicer also meant Kendra got to be near her hometown of Benson, which was a bonus for the self-proclaimed “home body”. “I grew up in a big family and many of them still live in the area,” Kendra said. “I love that I get to work and live where I can continue to be close to them.”

From Athlete to Therapist

As a former athlete, Kendra is now experiencing sports in a completely different way than ever before. “I started off as a competitive athlete who didn’t want to take time off to recover from an injury,” Kendra reflected. “Now I’m the one who they come and see when they want to return to competition so it’s my job to make sure they are listening to their body and caring for themselves.”

In her role reversal, Kendra believes that her athletic career helps her better understand and treat injured athletes. “Having gone through the experience myself it allows me better insight into the issues athletes deal with and the challenges that they face,” Kendra explained. “I understand their competitive nature and help them utilize it safely, pacing the speed of their recovery to return them to what they love and live for.”

Adam agrees that Kendra’s past endeavors are a huge benefit for her patients, helping her develop treatment plans. “Each and every day we function as movement specialists, where our knowledge and abilities can take dysfunctional movement and turn it into something better,” Adam said. “With Kendra’s athletic background, she knows and has seen firsthand the importance of skilled, coordinated movement and how it relates to performance.”

Aside from athletes, Kendra also spends time working with patients who are experiencing a wide range of conditions affecting their daily lives. She understands that everyone has something they are working towards in therapy and she enjoys being a part of the solution. “It is an amazing feeling to be part of helping someone return to a movement, activity, or hobby that they haven’t been able to complete,” Kendra explained. “I love the relationships I get to cultivate and the goals I get to help patients achieve.”