How Biking Across America Inspired the Ultimate Comeback: An Interview with Dr. Tara O'Rourke, DPT

Dr. Tara O'Rourke is an avid road cyclist and newly graduated doctor of physical therapy. She tells the story of a nearly fatal incident during the summer of 2014 that steered both her professional and athletic achievements. From learning to use a walker to biking over 4,000 miles, Tara's heart and never-give-up attitude is truly an inspiration to us all.


Jennifer:

So, tell everyone a little bit about yourself.


Tara:

I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. I studied Athletic Training at NOVA Southeasern University in Ft. Lauderdale. Then I decided to continue on to study Physical Therapy at California State University, Northridge. And that’s where I’m living now, I just graduated from Physical Therapy school in May, and I’m finishing my last clinical internship.


Jennifer:

Awesome, congratulations. I also saw that you just ran your first half marathon. I was actually surprised that it was your first one, seems like you’ve done one before. Congrats on that. How was it?


Tara:

So I was actually training for a full marathon in March and I sprained my ankle three weeks before bouldering. I literally reached the peak of training, the 20 miler, it was time to taper, and I never got to taper.


Jennifer:

Oh no, how did that happen? Did you fall off the wall and sprain your ankle?


Tara:

There’s part of my gym in the cave when you’ve got to move your own crash pad. And unfortunately the crash pad wasn’t completely right under where I fell.I fell on the edge and my ankle hit the ground. It was bad.


Jennifer:

You have to move your own crash pad around in the gym? I’ve never heard of that.


Tara:

Yeah, it’s like outdoor climbing.


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