Physical Therapy for a Football Injury: Diata Burns’ Patient Story

Feb23rd 2023

In 2022, Alabama A&M defensive back Diata Burns was only two weeks into his last year of eligibility. The team’s opponent that week was Troy University. While he didn’t yet know it as he took the field that September day, this game would be pivotal for Diata, changing the trajectory of his final season and career.

When he landed on his shoulder during a tackle and found himself caught under his opponent, there was no way he could have predicted the ultimate impact of that single moment. The fact that an injury had occurred was obvious. However, it would take weeks for the full extent of it to be known. Initially, it was believed that he had sustained a separated AC joint. While this was the case, it would take several more weeks for his torn labrum and torn rotator cuff to come to light. In November 2022, Diata finally underwent surgery, with his future football career hanging in the balance.

Searching for the Best Physical Therapist for Athletes in Baton Rouge

Following graduation, Diata returned to his family in Baton Rouge. While his shoulder injury could have been enough to crush his dreams of professional football, Diata refused to give up so easily. With the help of his girlfriend, Diata began to research physical therapists who could help him recover and prepare for the upcoming NFL pro day in March of 2023.

“My girlfriend found Evolve’s website and sent me the link,” recalls Diata. “I looked it up on Instagram and shot over a direct message. I got such a quick response. It was nice. It was comforting because, when you’re injured like this, you go through a lot of confidence issues. You question whether anybody even wants to deal with you.”

Although he had reached out to a couple of other practices, the quick response, caring messages, and open conversation he had with Evolve made Diata’s decision an easy one. From his very first appointment, he knew that he had made the right decision and that if anyone was going to get his arm back to where it needed to be in time for pro day, it was Robbie Bolton and Evolve Physical Therapy.

“Robbie is super helpful, active, and involved 100% of the time,” says Diata. “He immediately started investigating to learn everything he could about my situation, and contacted the doctors who did my surgery.”

Physical Therapy Results After Shoulder Surgery

When Diata first entered the doors of Evolve, he was unable to even fully lift his injured arm. After several weeks of intensive post-surgical PT, he has regained his full range of motion and is able to run at full speed. He feels confident and ready to pursue the next chapter in his career and is immensely grateful that fate led him to just the right place and person for his rehabilitation.

To finally come across somebody that knows what they’re talking about and really does care, not just because this is his profession but because he genuinely cares about you, it’s incredible,” says Diata. “It may sound like an exaggeration, but I thank God for putting me in that direction.”