She was a junior in college, captain of the University of Memphis cheerleading squad, and she had her life choreographed: finish school, become a physical therapist, work with the rich and famous.
“Beforehand, I was convinced I would work with an NFL team, do ACL injuries and things like that,” Krista Robinson said, adding with a laugh, “I’d have spent Monday chewing them out for the game they played on Sunday.”
Robinson, 31, also dreamed of starting her own physical therapy clinic, and that happened Aug. 9, 2012, when, on the date of their wedding anniversary, she and husband Josh Robinson opened PT Squared Physical Therapy and Personal Training on the Collierville town square.
Josh and Krista Robinson own PTSquared Physical Therapy and Personal Training on the Collierville town square, a business that is “more of a wellness clinic.”
(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)
Krista, who is a physical therapy assistant, never got to work with an NFL team. She did, however, suffer injuries far worse than the vast majority of NFL players. When she uses the word “beforehand,” it is a dividing line between life before her injury and life afterward.
She came to cheerleading practice one day and was asked to switch positions and go to the top of the pyramid. From there, she would flip into the waiting arms of two male cheerleaders.
Krista estimates she had done this flip maybe a dozen times, but on that day, “the timing was off with everything,” and she took a headfirst dive into the ground.
She recalls numbness wrapped in searing pain starting at her shoulders and going down her arms and legs. She felt that tingling that everyone’s felt when a hand or foot goes to sleep.
“But it was 100 times that,” she said.
Over the next 24 days, she would undergo three surgeries and survive two blood clots. She had broken her neck in multiple places and suffered a brain injury.
Always outgoing, she now struggled to keep up with conversations and really wasn’t comfortable around more than one person at a time.
“I watched the whole thing,” said Josh, who was then just a good friend.
School became much more difficult. Sometimes she had to close her book and look at the cover to remember what subject she was studying. She eventually tried running some 5K races, but they were too much; the pain was too much.
Now, more than 10 years after the fact, the brain injury still impacts her daily life.
“Your brain is like a muscle,” Krista said. “Your brain fatigues. My speech gets worse, my memory gets worse, my attitude gets worse. I get migraines a lot. I have to pace myself.”
None of it, however, has stopped her. And that’s the living, breathing message Krista represents to all who come into their clinic, be it for PT after an injury, fall or other major health event. She lives out a “never give up” mantra – and that’s really the theme, Josh said, that they want the clinic to have.
At PT Squared, the Robinsons also do personal training, hold boot camp classes, offer therapeutic and sports massage, and will provide meal plans for people trying to lose weight.
“We’re more of a wellness clinic,” Josh said.
That implies an approach beyond the physical and the Robinsons and their staff try to treat the whole person.
“What’s most helpful is finding out what motivates people,” said Krista, who minored in psychology. “There’s a lot of counseling that goes on and some crying now and then. You push them, you console them.”
Said Josh: “She still has a lot of pain and won’t complain. She motivates me.”
Business is booming, too, with 90 to 115 clients coming through each week – they’re open Monday through Saturday – after beginning with zero clients, Josh said.
So far, Krista hasn’t had any Monday sessions with NFL players she could “chew out” for how they played on Sunday. Yet she’s making more of a difference than she could have imagined, treating everyday people with everyday injuries and chronic conditions – people who easily could become discouraged without a little help from someone who understands.
“Being their cheerleader,” Krista said, “is a whole different mindset than I first had.”