Navy Trains PTAs to Aid Wounded Veterans

The United States Military has often prided itself on being a starting point for the careers of many of its current and former members. Educational and training programs established by the military give many young men and women an opportunity to test and develop skills by first putting them to use serving the military. While combat training quickly comes to mind, the military also needs people to fill a variety of non-combat roles to help care for its soldiers and veterans.

One of the military’s largest needs is quality physical therapy. Wounded warriors returning from combat need professional help to rehabilitate them and allow them to reintegrate into society. This means working with veterans and active duty soldiers of all ages as well as members of their families who are also cared for by the U.S. military.

For Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Austin Link, this translated into working as a physical therapist assistant at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). He trained for six months at a naval base in San Antonio before moving to WRNMMC where he has worked for the past several years to help rehabilitate veterans and their families.

Link’s duties are no different than those of a non-military physical therapist assistant. He works alongside a physical therapist to decide on the best method of treatment for his patients and then spends his days working to rehabilitate them.

Link recalls a patient that was confined to a bed for several weeks, unable to stand let alone walk. The smile on that patient’s face when Link assisted them in standing again is one of his more lasting memories from his time at WRNMMC.

Thanks to his time in the service, Link intends to pursue a career as a physical therapist assistant using resources provided by the Navy. For someone unsure of where to begin their physical therapy career, the military might be the perfect outlet, not to mention the satisfaction of working to help veterans and their families get back on their feet.


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