USC javelin thrower aims to use her experience as a high-level athlete to help other athletes as a physical therapist.
BY STEPHANIE CORRAL
WHEN KAMRYN ELGERSMA DPT ’25 SPRAINED HER ANKLE during a high school volleyball game, she was referred to a physical therapist to get her back into playing shape.
Elgersma, who played different kinds of sports before starting track and field as a college freshman, says working with a physical therapist and learning how to prevent injuries sparked her interest in the profession.
“I’ve had many injuries throughout my time as an athlete, and physical therapy has always been the tool that helped me to get control of my situation and get back to performing,” Elgersma says.
Now a javelin thrower on USC’s track team, Elgersma says being a physical therapy student has helped her understand the importance of taking care of your body to be successful.
“I have learned so much about anatomy, exercise, biomechanics and injuries, and I have really tried to use that to guide my mobility and approach to training,” Elgersma says. “I am my own patient every day.”
After being a track athlete for five years, Elgersma discovered throwing at a time when she was searching for an outlet to express her individuality.
“Throwing javelin has helped me discover a new strength within myself to stay disciplined and be better every day,” Elgersma says. “I learned how to reinvent myself as an athlete and a person. It gave me a new passion for life and has ended up giving me so many opportunities that I had never even thought of a few years ago.”
Being a student-athlete can be challenging, but Elgersma believes the discipline and flexibility she has acquired as an athlete will be useful to her as a clinician.
“I know firsthand the toll it takes on your body to be at a high level as an athlete,” Elgersma explains. “I understand the sacrifice and the joy that comes from working towards something bigger than myself. I believe wholeheartedly in doing things every day to work towards my goals, and that is something I want to help my patients understand.”
As someone who has participated in many different competitive environments, Elgersma plans to use her DPT degree to work with athletes on and off the field to provide insight into addressing injuries and improving performance.
To that end, Elgersma, who is currently preparing for the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam, is also considering pursuing board certification as a clinical specialist in sports physical therapy.
“I hope to ultimately empower people to be intentional with their bodies and allow them to continue to do the things that they love,” Elgersma says. “I want to help people understand how important it is to see the value in themselves and what they bring to the table. Connecting with people is such an opportunity through physical therapy.”
Elgersma says the connections she has made with her fellow classmates at USC has served as a huge support system.
“I am so grateful to have so many knowledgeable people around through this process to bounce ideas off and grow with,” Elgersma says. “They are also so supportive during my track meets, and a bunch of people made signs for me at the Trojan Invite last year and came to support. I most definitely could not take on all of this without them.”
When it comes to the future, Elgersma would like to work with college and professional athletes in both the outpatient setting as well as during training and competitions.
“I would love to travel with a team or group of athletes within the first few years after graduating from USC and then possibly move towards a clinical setting later on,” says Elgersma, who is looking forward to being involved with the L.A. 2028 Summer Olympics.
Completing a fellowship or residency is also a possibility, Elgersma says.
“I would love to have the opportunity to learn and grow in more sports-concentrated spaces and continue to meet athletes and expert clinicians,” Elgersma says. “Doing a residency or fellowship is a commitment that I definitely don’t take lightly, but I think it could be a good next step for pursuing the things I want to do in my career. We will have to see what the next few years hold for me.”