By John Sacco

Dr. Emilio Galis opened Elite Physical Therapy and Wellness in Belle Vernon, with the idea of helping athletes get back on the field, court or mat as soon as possible.

While much of the focus of the business is sports-related recoveries, there have been changes in the past year since opening.

“Our goal is to make sure we get the athlete back on the field as soon as possible, as safely as possible,” Galis said. “We take pride in determining when and how an athlete should return to sport and will educate each athlete on programs to prevent and lower the risk of injury. We are very structured in how we return athletes to play and will perform functional tests/sports performance tests to make sure the athlete is safe to return.”

Galis said Elite Physical Therapy and Wellness treats a large variety of sports related injuries including:

n Sprains, strains and tears;

n Fractures;

n Post-surgical rehabilitation for sports injuries such as ACL, MCL, meniscus repairs, shoulder surgeries and spine surgeries;

n Concussions;

n Tendinitis;

n Contusions;

n Generalized pain from sport.

“Treatments will vary based on the athlete’s current needs, however, most commonly treatment will involve use of modalities, hands on manual therapy, and therapeutic exercise/neuromuscular re-education,” Galis said. “We constantly re-evaluate each athlete to make sure treatments are effective and efficient.

One does not need be an athlete to find some pain relief with Galis.

“We spend one hour of one-on-one care,” Galis said.

“We continue to attract patients who are interested in having us completely focus on them and trying to make them feel better.”

Galis said a dry needling process has been helpful in the treatment of patients.

He said dry needling is a monofilament needle used to release tension in muscle and relieve compression on the spine.

“It resets muscle firing and brings oxygenated blood flow to muscle reducing lactic acid build up,” Galis said. “It is a great way to relieve chronic muscle tension, sciatica, nerve related issues, and TMJ, plantar fasciitis.

“It’s a niche that is hard to find. A lot of people seek out this treatment.”

Galis received his bachelor of science degree in biology and health sciences from Duquesne University in 2012 and his doctor of physical therapy degree in 2014 from Duquesne.

He previously worked in Rockville and Gaithersburg, Md., for three-and-a-half years as a physical therapist and clinic director. He also has worked in the Pittsburgh region for the two years.

Galis has a primary focus on individualizing every treatment and plan of care to meet the specific needs of each patient and uses multimodal approaches of treatment to help patients improve their function and reach their personal goals.

He believes that increased time spent with each patient and hands-on therapy is most important to the rehabilitative process.

“It is also vital to explain to and educate the patient on each treatment given and what its purpose is specific to each pathology he treats,” Galis said.

The center opened last April, at the outset of the pandemic.

“It was a challenge,” Galis said. “I’m glad to say we are here and doing well. I feel blessed. We followed all the protocols, bought a lot more cleaning products and didn’t have a budget yet.”

Galis is a native of the Mon Valley area. He has more than five years of experience treating a variety of orthopedic conditions and pathologies and has a definite interest in working with athletes of all levels. He has had an abundance of experience working specifically with professional boxers. Galis has also treated a variety of NFL players throughout the course of his career.

Another Mon Valley native, Dr. John Feher, is on staff at the business.

Feher received his bachelor of science degree in biology from St. Vincent College in 2016 and his doctor of physical therapy degree from Mt. Union University in 2020.

Before his graduate studies, Feher worked as a rehab technician for UPMC Centers for Rehabilitation Services. He has completed his clinical studies at OSPTA in Belle Vernon, Kingston of Ashland Skilled Nursing Facility in Ohio, and Country Roads Physical Therapy in Morgantown and Fairmont, W.Va.

Elite is located at 638 Rostraver Road, Suite 104, Belle Vernon and can be reached at 724-243-3728.

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