For the Troy Daily News
TROY — A retired, long time Piqua physical therapist has joined Health Partners Free Clinic, located in Troy, volunteering his skills to help patients two days a week. A college roommate’s broken leg to motivate Chris Cooley to a 43-year career in physical therapy.
The 73-year-old Cooley retired last year after 15 years of being affiliated with Upper Valley Family Care in Troy. He also spent 25 years providing services at the former Piqua Memorial Hospital, and later in home health care and hospice care. After taking a year off in retirement, Cooley decided to start giving back and was soon directed to Health Partners.
“After a year off, I realized I missed it (physical therapy). I talked with Dr. (Craig) Critchley and he told me about the clinic. I just wanted to volunteer and this is a good place,” Cooley said.
Cooley is available on Monday and Wednesday each week from 9 a.m. to noon. His services include an evaluation of the doctor’s diagnosis, creating a plan of care, determining muscle strengths and weaknesses, a patient’s range of motion and their balance. Gate training involves the regaining full walking capabilities and Kinesio taping options are available.
Originally from Port Clinton, Cooley was a pre-med student at the University of Toledo. When a college roommate broke his leg, it was Cooley who helped him in several ways. He would take him to physical therapy and soon became involved in his recovery exercises. He was soon asked to become a physical therapy aide at the clinic.
Embracing the field, Cooley was off to Georgia State University in Atlanta where he earned an Allied Medical degree becoming a physical therapist. He worked in Georgia for three years, but he wasn’t alone in his personal life which led to a road map back to Ohio in 1977.
“My wife and I were both from Ohio and we were getting homesick. That’s when we found the position at Piqua Memorial because we wanted to be closer to where we were from.”
Chris and Karen Cooley met at the University of Toledo. They have been married for 53 years and have two sons and four grandchildren. A son, Jason, followed his father into the field becoming a physical therapist assistant and massage therapist in Columbus. His brother, Jonathon, is an 8th grade science teacher in Noblesville, Ind.
The Cooleys serve elsewhere in a manner that hits close to home. Mrs. Cooley serves as a pool instructor at the Piqua YMCA. Chris has developed a Y water therapy program for those dealing with Multiple Sclerosis, as his wife is afflicted.
Executive Director Justin Coby said Cooley is a great addition to the clinic in offering physical therapy.
“This is the first time we have been able to offer physical therapy services as it’s something our patients have a need for. We are blessed to have someone with Chris’ knowledge and experience willing to step up and help our patients. I’m so glad he is on board.”