“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”
― Nassim Nicholas Taleb
I always played various sports growing up - from little league baseball, football, and basketball, to running half marathons. I just accepted that injuries are an unfortunate part of choosing to do these things that I loved.
My first experience with significant injury happened before I was in physical therapy school. I was playing in a recreational basketball league game the night before my girlfriend (now wife) and I were traveling to Disney World. I ended up landing on someone’s foot after grabbing a rebound, something I had done hundreds of times in the past and just walked away from.
This time was different. I couldn’t put weight on my foot to walk out of the gym.
After going to the doctor and having x-rays, I was told that my ankle wasn’t broken and that “it’s JUST an ankle sprain”, and that I “JUST need to rest”.
No other guidance.
I had pain in my ankle for the next 2 years. I twisted my ankle a few times every week, until I finally went to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in ankle injuries.
A few weeks later I had surgery and began my recovery.
I never got back to playing basketball at the same level. My strength never felt like it came back. I never even felt like I walked the same.
A year or so after the surgery and rehab, I started receiving bills.
A bill from the surgical center.
A bill from the physical therapy company.
A bill from the anesthesiologist.
A bill from the surgeon’s medical practice.
Thousands of dollars in bills for services my insurance company denied after the fact.
Thousands of dollars in bills that I had no idea I’d be liable for.
And the worst part...despite the surgery, despite the physical therapy, despite the ridiculous amount of money I had to pay for these services. I was still not back to doing the things I wanted to do...
Then, in 2017, I suffered an injury that could have been completely avoided - I closed a cabinet door at work and two heavy boxes that were stacked on top fell on my head.
I was dizzy, confused, and had the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life.
The next day, I received a phone call from the insurance adjuster assigned to my case, who set up an appointment for me to see one of the specialists in their network.
My mom needed to drive me to the appointment because of the dizziness. I couldn’t focus long enough to fill out the paperwork, so she had to fill that out for me too. When I met with the specialist, I had to ask him to dim the lights in the room because my eyes were so sensitive.
Then, it happened again. “It’s JUST a little concussion. You Just need to rest for a few days and you’ll be back to normal.”
A few days turned into weeks, and then months. I progressively got worse to the point where I couldn’t perform basic functions like washing the dishes or walking to the mailbox.
The specialist had no solutions or answers. He couldn’t understand why I was not improving. And he couldn’t “justify” keeping me out of work to the insurance company because I “should’ve been better by now.”
I spent almost 1 year of my life under this person’s “guidance” going from appointment to appointment without a plan. Without progress. Without results.
I was at the mercy of a doctor who based his medical decisions on what an insurance company may or may not approve, not what was in my best interest. And because of the worker’s compensation laws in NJ, I was not allowed to seek my own health care.
These health-insurance-covered-solutions led to a steady decline in my health and functional capabilities.
This is what healthcare has become.
But as the saying goes: It’s always darkest before the dawn.
I found a network of medical professionals who prioritize their patients regardless of what an insurance company will pay for; who are the best in their respective fields and understand that in order to provide superior and appropriate care, the landscape of healthcare must change.
Within days, the issues I was dealing with for 1 year started to improve. If I had a question, I could send an email and get a response within minutes. I now had a plan with actionable steps towards achieving my goals, and the guidance from top professionals to help get me there.
Everyday I woke up, I felt like I was Always Making Progress.
This is why AMP was formed.
To end the days of myopic healthcare.
To end the days of unnecessary surgeries and over-prescribing of pain meds.
To end the days of going to physical therapy appointments 3 times a week for months at a time without change.
AMP Performance Rehab was created with people like you and me in mind. For the people that deserve the best. For the people who will settle for nothing less than to Always Make Progress.
Welcome to AMP Performance Rehab!
-Dr. Shaun Astorga, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS