Dr. Aaron’s Story and Why he does what he does
I grew up always on the go, playing sports and participating in any activity I could find. I’ve always had a love of physical movement and activity. Like many kids, I dreamed of playing professional everything – baseball, football, maybe even golf. As I grew, my primary love became baseball, mostly because there wasn’t much need for 5’5,” 140-pound college football players.
The good fortune of an injury
I attended junior college in Bottineau, ND (now Dakota College at Bottineau) and played on the baseball team. It was apparent to me by this point that my athletic career was rapidly coming to a close. Yet, I had no idea what I was going to do next. The spring of my sophomore year, I had the good fortune of injuring my throwing shoulder. I say good fortune because my injury is what brought me to the office of Dr. Mark Pewe. He treated my shoulder, had me throwing again in no time and set me on a career path which has been more fun, rewarding and challenging than I could have imagined.
I still enjoy pushing myself physically and keeping on the go. Though I now use this outlet to maintain my physical condition (gotta keep up with the kids!) and test my limits rather than as a means to improve at sports. My love of sports and physical activity and my passion for helping others fuels my fire to learn and improve my clinical skills each day.
I look back at my younger self and see a lot of unused potential. It’s doubtful that I ever would have turned pro at anything, but I do think the right sports medicine professional could have helped me maximize my potential by fully addressing my injuries and giving me direction in my weight room and cross training efforts. That’s why I’m passionate about helping athletes with their injuries and performance. I hope to help them avoid the chronic, long-term injuries that may prevent them from enjoying physical activity in adulthood.
Passion for optimizing physical performance
Over the last 10 years, I’ve developed a strong interest in optimizing patient’s physical performance by improving their movement habits. I’ve found that so many people have weaknesses and imbalances which not only set them up for injury, but also have a negative impact on their performance. This is regardless of age, chosen activity or athletic talents. My knowledge of functional movement and human movement assessment has opened doors and created opportunities to work with many people who have a desire to optimize their potential and expose their physical limits through exercise.
Most of the people I work with on optimizing performance fall into one of three groups: endurance Runners/Triathletes, Powerlifters and CrossFitters. These groups all share the strong desire to improve. Most have no intention of competing on a world stage. Their chosen activity isn’t their job. In fact, most don’t make a penny doing it. They do it out of love for the activity, the physical rewards it gives them and the opportunity to surround themselves with like-minded people. The activity becomes not only what they do, but a part of who they are. (Ever hear someone say “I’m a runner” or “I’m a CrossFitter?”) The fact that they aren’t paid to do this activity is a true testament to their dedication to it.
For me, CrossFit has been a wonderful experience. I was drawn to it the first time I saw it on TV but didn’t participate until I volunteered to help at Dakota Games in Fargo (about five years ago). Within minutes of being there, I knew I had to try it. I’ve gained a social network of positive, like-minded individuals and an opportunity to explore my physical and mental limits. I know the marathon, triathlete and powerlifting communities do the same for each other.
Called to help others be their best physical selves
I truly believe testing ourselves regularly through rigorous exercise brings something out in us that we are slowly losing as a society. As a whole, we’re gradually becoming more fragile and less physically capable human beings. Technology makes life ever easier. Injuries, aches and pains consistently prevent us from moving to the capacity we naturally possess. We’re evolving mentally and devolving physically. I feel called to have an impact on this regression of human potential. I believe I was put on this earth to help others be their best possible selves physically. That, in turn, allows them to manifest their best possible selves in other aspects of their life.
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