Redefining physical therapy: Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers opens 23rd location

This is the first locaton in Fairfield County

Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers has a new location in Fairfield.

Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers has a new location in Fairfield.

Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers

With its new location in Fairfield, Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers may have opened its 23rd location across Connecticut since 2000, but it's far from a faceless, big box conglomerate.

Even with three clinics already opening in 2019 and plans to expand to even more communities in the future, and with over 17,000 patients seen each year, the focus for the West Hartford-based company remains squarely on the individual.

"The big differentiator for us is based on building relationships with patients and offering totally customized care," said PTSMC director of marketing Peter Decoteau.

It's part and parcel of the company's mission statement to "improve the quality of people's lives through unmatched experiences, clinical excellence and lifelong relationships," he said.

That begins with hiring clinicians with a wealth of experience and expertise to provide world-class care, and also with the personal touch to "make patients feel comfortable about talking about what they're experiencing," he said.

Far from putting patients in a box when it comes to what the treatment should be, "we begin with an extensive one-on-one evaluation that allows clinicians to really go in deep to diagnose the problem effectively, and then plan a program of care that's really tailored to that patient."

By all indications, it's a winning formula, considering the high ratings PTSMC has scored on numerous customer satisfaction indexes, the hundreds of 5-star reviews on Google and Facebook, and the slew of local awards. And that's not counting the eight consecutive years the company has been named a "Top Workplace" in Connecticut.

It all goes back to founder Alan Balavender, himself a physical therapist, who opened a single practice in Waterbury 19 years ago.

"He had a vision for a partnership model where the company supports clinicians who want to own and operate their own clinics, but don't necessarily have the financial or administrative wherewithal to do so," Decoteau said.

Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers has a new location in Fairfield.

Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers has a new location in Fairfield.

Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers

As with the new Fairfield location's partner and director Rebecca Petrosino, a physical therapist with more than 23 years of professional experience, "most of our partners live in the communities where they operate," he said.

That means they have "the same personal stake in providing physical therapy that allows people live pain free," he said. There's also the small-town sensibility to give back in other ways, as with community events and initiatives.

That kind of home-grown forward thinking is consistent with the way PTSMC is redefining physical therapy, and it's not just with the way the company encourages its clinicians to seek out continuing education on cutting-edge techniques.

"One of our big messages is that physical therapy can treat a broad range of issues, from recovering from a severe injury or major surgery down to foot or back or neck pain or whatever's keeping you up at night," he said.

And because PTSMC clinics don't require a doctor's referral, an individual experiencing muscle or joint pain might consider starting with an in-depth one-on-one assessment by one of its physical therapists before incurring the cost of an X-ray or MRI, and the time spent waiting for an appointment.

"You might just require a tailored program to resolve the issue, or maybe you simply need to stretch the right way," he said. "And if you need more testing, they'll be open and upfront about that too."

It's all of a piece with the philosophy that has afforded PTSMC its unprecedented growth in the past 2 decades.

"Even though we continue to expand pretty radically, the focus will be always on the people, on the relationships, on the community," he said.

For more information about Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers, visit