She’s a Darling – Local Woman Headed to Rio


The USA National Rhythmic Gymnastics Team has qualified six athletes for the upcoming 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, under the physical therapy and athletic training guidance of Elizabeth Darling, DPT, ATC, OCS, CLT and Amanda Scully, DPT, CLT, both of Keystone Physical Therapy – Erie South. “This historic accomplishment is in part attributed to an injury prevention program specific to Rhythmic Gymnasts that Darling and her team have developed,” says Caroline Hunt, Director for Rhythmic Gymnastics, US Olympic Team.

Rhythmic Gymnastics became an Olympic sport in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the group competition of the sport was added in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.  Rhythmic gymnasts perform routines that frequently include using clubs, hoops, balls or ribbons.  It is often described as a combination of ballet, gymnastics and dance requiring strength, balance and flexibility.

Darling has been working with the USA Gymnastics team since 2001 attending international events to provide support and training, as well as working with injured gymnasts needing rehabilitation.  It was through this exposure that Darling developed a prevention program that tests the athletes’ imbalances in strength and flexibility resulting in a decrease in injury rates and improved performance.

“Elizabeth’s program has revolutionized the National Team preparation and elite development by creating a program specific to the rhythmic gymnast.  She is constantly looking at the athletes’ progress and developing innovative ways to enhance, improve and challenge their progress. Elizabeth and Amanda have helped create a team of gymnasts ready to compete at the highest level,” says Hunt.

Darling and Scully work with physical therapy and athletic trainer students from Gannon University in Erie, PA.  “These students have the opportunity to do their clinical work at Keystone Physical Therapy and work with a national team of Olympic-caliber athletes,” says Darling.  Gannon graduates Rosie Cooper and Amanda Till did their clinical training with Darling and Scully and had the opportunity to work with the Rhythmic Gymnastics team.  Now Rosie works full time with Keystone Physical Therapy in Erie.  Mary Vicary is currently doing her clinical rotation with Darling and Scully and is presently at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York.  “Mary and Amanda are participating in the developmental camp for 9 to 11 year-old girls who work with the best coaches in the world.  Amanda teaches these up-and-coming athletes strength, flexibility and corrective exercises,” says Darling.  “It is exciting to watch these athletes develop, strengthen and progress in their sport.”

Keystone Physical Therapy – Erie South, is part of Physio, one of the nation’s largest families of physical and occupational therapy, orthotic and prosthetic providers, dedicated to helping patients of all ages live better, work smarter and play harder.  In understanding that people want to move at the speed of their own lives, Physio personalizes care across each of its comprehensive programs targeted at achieving goals.

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