Kai Frederick has an incredibly physically demanding job. As a member of the U.S. Department of Justice’s ATF Special Operations Division, Special Response Team, Kai is tasked with performing various high-risk operations, such as arresting some of the most violent suspects around the country, and even places like Guam and Saipan.
Kai’s work requires he wear a tactical vest weighing 40 to 50 pounds, and carry a rifle, among additional gear. When training and working, he must lift himself and hold positions for long periods of time. Kai has to regularly pass a fitness test that includes sit-ups, pull-ups, running, and much more. Weakness is not an option.
So when his left shoulder started bothering him, he was concerned. After years of nagging weakness and pain, he had arthroscopic surgery where his orthopedic surgeon discovered a bone spur causing impingement. They cleaned up the cartilage and told him to rest, begin physical therapy and plan on being out of work for 6-8 weeks.
“After surgery I was motivated to get back to work right away,” Kai shared. “My wife was the one who recommended the ARC Physical Therapy+ in Liberty as she’s gone to them before and was impressed with the staff and space.”
Kai started physical therapy 10 days post-surgery. On his first day, he met his physical therapists, Michelle Grace and Danielle Garcia.
“On that first day Michelle told me to do some exercises and I looked at her like, ‘Are you sure I can do this?’, but she knew what I was able to do and when to push me. I put my full trust in both of them and we all worked together.”
Kai went to physical therapy for 8 weeks, 3 days a week. And he worked hard.
“We help someone like Kai recover well enough to get back to the physical demands of his job by first managing pain and addressing range of motion, then building baseline strength and stability, and progressing into more dynamic, compound, work-related simulations. We have resources, machinery, and space in our clinic to simulate those work-related activities, which other locations may not have,” Michelle and Danielle, shared.
Kai agreed, “They really knew when to push me. There are a lot of things about my job that are hard to recreate in a gym setting, but we worked together to ensure I was strong enough to do everything I need to do in the field. They knew exactly what to have me do to get where I need to be and they trusted I knew what to do and how to apply it.”
Thanks to Kai’s dedication and trust in Danielle and Michelle, he was doing pull-ups 30 days post-shoulder surgery and the doctor cleared him to go back to work.
“I thought I would be out for 6-8 weeks, so to be cleared in 30 days was incredible,” Kai shared. “My team commander and team were ecstatic to get me back sooner than anyone thought was possible.”
“We were so glad to work with Kai and to be part of his amazing recovery. He was very motivated inside and outside of therapy, and very proactive towards his recovery,” Danielle and Michelle said.
“This experience has inspired me to get better and stronger in other aspects too. Our fitness test is coming up again soon and I know I’ll do much better than I have in the past, thanks to my experience at ARC Physical Therapy+. I’m in much better shape in all ways.”
Beyond getting back to his physically demanding job, Kai gave physical therapy his all to honor his sister, Kirsten Fumagalli, who passed away 2 years ago. Kirsten was a physical therapist who was dedicated to helping others. “My sister was part of my drive to work so hard. I wanted to honor her through my effort and my trust in Danielle and Michelle.” No doubt about it, Kirsten would be proud.