Ten years ago, in 2003, a young West Limestone man named Tyler Tucker walked the stage and received his high school diploma. Fresh out of high school, he worked in an office that summer, and while his grandfather was a successful engineer, Tyler realized that moving forward in engineering was not going to be the career path for him. He headed to Calhoun College, and on to Auburn, where he received his B.S. in Wildlife Sciences. He likes to hunt and fish, and was interested in private land management, yet that door was only open to someone with a Ph.D. Tyler is an animal lover, and having grown up on a cattle farm, as well as the fact that Auburn had such a good veterinarian school, he worked in a veterinarian clinic before deciding whether he wanted to apply to vet school. He says, “I got tired of getting bitten every day.” Thankfully, there was another plan in place for his future that has come to greatly benefit the people of Athens, and that is as a Doctor of Physical Therapy and clinical director of OnMark Physical Therapy. OnMark is located right across from Wal-Mart on Hwy 72, and next to Papa Murphy’s Pizza. The address is 936 US Hwy 72 E, Athens.
Tyler, whose mom is a R.N. and his dad a chiropractor, always “liked the Physical Therapy side of medicine.” Following several interviews and offers, Tyler felt that he best fit in with the students and faculty at the University of TN at Chattanooga and chose there to achieve his physical therapy education. Throughout his program, he participated in several internships in a variety of clinical and hospital settings in both Alabama and Tennessee before deciding that outpatient physical therapy was the career he wanted to pursue.
Tyler’s philosophy and that of the OnMark organization is to both encourage and empower the patient to take as much responsibility for their own health as is possible and prudent. Tyler tries to put himself in his patients’ shoes, and looks for the answer to the following question, “What kinds of hurdles can I get over and get back to life?” He then forms a partnership with his patient to find a personal solution that will garner quantifiable and satisfactory results.
A Doctor of Physical Therapy, (which is a clinical doctorate degree) has to evaluate whether the problem is emanating largely from the structural side of the human body, or from the organs. Often it is both. If he determines the issue to be primarily structural, he then utilizes stretching and strengthening exercises, integrates equipment as individuals are progressing, and uses a variety of hands-on techniques if needed.
“My goal is to help you as an individual find out what can do for yourself,” he said. He then added, “When what we do works, my job then is to help them see that it is what they are doing as well. That helps them take personal responsibility, and have a better chance at getting and staying well.”
OnMark Physical Therapy is a family run facility, with Tyler’s cousin Lauren Tucker doing a bang up job as the office coordinator. Lauren is from Red Bay, attended Shelton State Community College, and graduated from Fairfield University on a basketball scholarship, earning a degree in marketing. She is full of energy, cares about the patients, and is more than glad to be part of the team. Tyler asked her to come on board as his office manager at a recent family reunion, and it is apparent that they enjoy working together. I asked her, as I always do, “If I am in pain, have been prescribed a regimen of physical therapy and I have several choices of therapists in the area, why should I come to you?”
She quickly answered, “He is the best.” “Tell me what you mean by that,” I said. “He is knowledgeable and explains everything to the patient,” Lauren said. “He is good at what he does, he is patient, and is confident.” Confidence is something I like, arrogance, not so much, and my dealings with Tyler certainly confirm Lauren’s take on her cousin.
She then added, “We both care, and I know how I would want to be treated, and that is how Tyler treats our patients.” I could tell Lauren was not speaking as a “paid spokesperson,” and I was already convinced. But you know what “cinched the deal” for me? I walked to the back of the facility, and on the wall was a prayer request list. It was genuine, it was professional, and it protected peoples’ privacy. If I were in pain, this is what I would want: a team who cared about me, body, soul, spirit and mind, and who weren’t ashamed to pray for me. I would encourage you to come check them out!
OnMark Physical Therapy
936 US Hwy 72 E Athens, AL 356111 (Across from Wal-Mart, right next to Papa Murphy’s Pizza)
Phone: 256 684 8343
Hours: 8-6, M-Thurs, 8-12 Friday
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner