DENVER (CBS4) – Every year, countless first responders are injured on the job, often requiring weeks of costly physical therapy to get back in the line of duty. For the last few years, the Denver Police Department has taken matters into its own hands by bypassing outside therapy clinics and creating its own.
For months, visits to the Denver Police Department Physical Therapy office within the training academy have been a part of Officer Logan Guffey’s weekly routine. It’s there she works with Sarah Greytak with the hopes of making her on-the-job shoulder injury a distant memory.
According to Guffey, the pain all started following a difficult arrest she made in the summer.
“They pulled away from me, which pulled my shoulder and just irritated it, tore it a little bit,“ Guffey said.
Greytak is one of DPD’s two full-time physical therapists. The other is Daniel Jonte. Since 2016, both have worked with countless officers, creating recovery plans tailored specifically for their jobs.
A typical session can involve stretching, cupping, weight lifting, or a virtual simulation of pressure filled and high-stakes situations that tests their body and mind.
“Their life actually depends on their physical and mental ability to be able to do this job, so we have a pivotal role to be able to rehab them to perform those job duties,” said Jonte.
With frequent visits, Officer Guffey was back to work in weeks and SWAT technician Josh Bollwahn’s recovery for a torn pectoral muscle shrunk by two months.
“I feel strong, fitness level, I don’t feel like I’m going to re-injure it or anything, so it’s been really good,” Bollwahn said.
“We’ve shown in the data that we’re 21 days faster back to work when they come to our therapy clinic, versus going to an outside therapy clinic,” said Sarah Greytak.
According to Greytak, treating officers in-house also helps taxpayers. She estimated the department has saved more than $1 million on therapy costs in the last year.
“Not only do we want them to have this at other departments, we need it to happen in other departments,” Greytak said.
The Denver Fire Department and Denver Sheriff Department also have similar physical therapy programs, according to Greytak.