AP NEWS

A mountain of an opportunity

May 5, 2019

When opportunity comes knocking, you can only ignore it for so long.

For Brett Qualls, owner of Agave Physical Therapy here in Lake Havasu, his opportunity to work with Olympic athletes was too much to ignore.

A physical therapist and orthopedist, Qualls will be heading as a volunteer to the U.S. Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colorado to work with athletes there who are recovering from injuries.

“They run a full-time clinic, so injured Olympians can go there and do their rehab,” said Qualls. “I’ll be assigned to one of the teams that’s on rotation there.”

In addition to helping athletes rehab from injuries, Qualls will also serve as the team physical therapist for one of the Olympic teams at the training center.

There are two other training centers for Olympic athletes in the U.S. are located in Chula Vista, California and Lake Placid, New York.

Qualls is looking at this chance as an opportunity to learn and expand his breadth of knowledge in other areas.

“There’s a couple sports there that I don’t have a whole lot of experience working with,” said Qualls. “The unique needs of those kinds of athletes might be something that’s a little outside my normal.”

Some of the sports Qualls will be working with will be athletes from men’s gymnastics, both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, modern pentathlon, Paralympic swimming, triathlon, and shooting sports.

“It will interesting to learn from some of the other providers I’m working with,” said Qualls. “I’m also excited to learn more about some of the other sports.”

I always think you think something new from each patient you work with and working with athletes of that level is a different caliber and I think I’ll learn a ton from them.”

However, the chance to work as part of a treatment team is what excites Qualls the most.

“I’m excited for the potential to work with a chiropractor, an M.D., a personal trainer and an athletic trainer. That team treatment environment is probably what I’m most excited about,” said Qualls.

A native of Carlotta, California, a small town off the north coast of California, Qualls attended the University of Pacific where he earned his bachelor’s degree in sports medicine and then his doctorate in physical therapy.

A few years back, Qualls received a letter in the mail about the opportunity to work with Olympic athletes during the time he was completing his orthopedist certification process.

“I think I ended up on an email list,” said Qualls. “I’ve applied a couple times and this is the first time I’ve gotten picked.”

As for his business here in town, Agave Physical Therapy, which opened roughly two years ago, focuses on outpatient orthopedic and sports rehabilitation and treats patients of all ages.

“We treat patients from 2 years old to 102, so kind of the whole lifespan,” said Qualls. “Some of them are looking for improvement in sports performance, so of them are recovering from surgery and others are looking to improve their function, like if they have back pain or neck pain.”

Qualls’ ultimate goal is for patients to do more independently and get back into doing the things that mean most to them.