In the sports mecca that is New Paltz, who better to turn to when suffering pain and/or an injury than a locally born and bred health provider? Greg Cecere recently opened up his own physical therapy practice, Momentum Physical Therapy, on the second floor of the Ignite Fitness Gym in the Cherry Hill Plaza.
After graduating high school in 2001, Cecere got his undergraduate degree in biology at SUNY Binghamton, and then pursued his graduate degree in physical therapy (PT) at the University of Delaware. Armed with his education and a thirst for experience in his field of choice, Cecere landed a job in New York City with New York Orthopedics.
“I grew up in New Paltz but have grandparents in Brooklyn, so the city was not entirely unknown to me,” he said. “But it was an adjustment. I loved the experience, but I always craved to live and work in a place like New Paltz.”
Cecere signed up with a travel physical therapy organization which places employees in various spots across the country for three-month stints. This popular program provided training, travel and experience for physical therapists, orthopedic therapists and nurses. Cecere worked in California, Washington State and southern Maryland.
“It was a great experience because I was able to work with many great colleagues, learn about different types of PT offices, some small, some very large,” he said, “but most importantly gain hands-on experience with a variety of clients from different parts of the country.”
One of the greatest challenges he faced was working directly with non-English-speaking clients. “I actually minored in Spanish in college, but it’s very different when working with Spanish-speaking clients who are trying to describe what hurts, where it hurts, why it hurts,” he said. “We all have our own slang and phrases for pain and injuries that are quite unique to each language. But it only strengthened my Spanish and made me work that much harder.”
After his traveling, Cecere said he knew he wanted to get back to New Paltz, or at least to the Hudson Valley. He had found he had a strong connection with a sense of place. “I missed the East Coast, my friends and families and the four seasons,” he said. “When you grow up with four seasons, it’s something you miss when it’s not there. Fall is my favorite time of year here. We have this gorgeous weather, the fall foliage, fresh apples, apple cider, apple donuts.”
He also liked being in close proximity to New York City, where he had a network of great friends and members of his own extended family.
His dream had always been to open his own business. As fate would have it he ran into Chad Tyrell, owner of Ignite Fitness in New Paltz. Tyrell had space available and was open to bringing him on board. “It was a win-win for both of us, and being able to afford and manage an eleven-by-eleven-foot space in my hometown was much more enticing and fitting with my style of practice than trying to open up some large outfit with enormous overhead,” Cecere explained. “Having the gym here, which my clients have access to, is also a huge bonus.”
Cecere said that he sees people who are in their teens through senior citizens. He deals with muscles, bones, tendons, sprains, strains, over-use injuries, post-op recovery, sports injuries and almost everything else. Being in a “highly active sporting community like New Paltz,” he treats many athlete’s injuries.
Injuries one has to pay attention to are part of the territory for the physically active. But the sedentary are also subject to injuries. The most common ailment physical therapists treat are people suffering form lower back pain. “It’s endemic,” said Cecere. “And the average age is between 30 and 40. So it’s not arthritis, which typically comes into play later.”
Dealing one-on-one with his clients is important. “In many larger facilities they might see a different PT every time they come,” he said. “Not here. We work one on one, I get to know their injury, what they need to recover and get back to their regular healthy lifestyle.”
His business motto is “Move Better, Feel Better, Live Better.” For information, call 419-1432. An open house/grand opening will take place at Momentum Physical Therapy on Saturday, Oct. 5 from noon to 3 p.m. in the group exercise room at Ignite Fitness, located at 246 Main Street in New Paltz. Light refreshments will be provided.