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Meet Ziad Dahdul of Ignite Phyzio & Sports Performance

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ziad Dahdul.

Ziad, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was always a sports junkie growing up and knew that I wanted to be involved in sports in some capacity as a career. I’ve played sports since I was a kid and knew that if I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete, I wanted to work as closely with athletes as I could. I went to Cal State Fullerton and received my Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, which was an amazing experience and where I first fell in love with exercise physiology and movement anatomy.

After finishing my degree, I was accepted to the best PT program in the country at USC and got my doctorate in physical therapy in 2010. I had the luxury of working with amazing clinicians and researchers who were at the forefront of our field and really shaped the type of clinician I would eventually become.

Then, in 2014, I became an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, a designation that less than 10% of PTs attain, to broaden my depth of knowledge and skills to best treat musculoskeletal injuries.

Having worked in the field for 9+ years now, I’ve seen health care change before my eyes, mostly for the worse. Spending less and less time with my patients as every year went by, I realized that there’s so much more we can offer to help people get out of pain and get back to doing the things they love to do. I was working with high school and collegiate athletes, active people who led full and adventurous lives, and yet I was never able to spend enough quality time with them, always feeling like I was leaving something on the table.

So that’s when I decided that if my dream job didn’t exist, I’d have to create it for myself. And that’s how Ignite Phyzio & Sports Performance was born.

Has it been a smooth road?
I don’t think anything that’s worth achieving is easy and my journey to becoming a PT is no exception. I made the decision to pursue physical therapy during my junior year of undergrad, so I ended up delaying my eventual graduation from PT school by three years because of that. That resulted in extra years of doubt and debt and really challenged my resiliency, but the longer road only reinforced the fact that I had found my calling and was made to be a physical therapist.

Present day, the stresses of balancing life with being an entrepreneur always exist. My to-do list is NEVER complete and there’s always something that needs to be done in order to continue to build upon what I’ve accomplished in my first 18 months in business.

My goal and dream is to build a business that helps expose human beings to the care that they deserve, and that’s what drives me to push through the 14 hour treatment days and coming home and putting on my business owner hat to work on the back end of the business. It’s a constant struggle, but my desire to build a business that patients WANT to go to and other PTs want to work at is motivation enough!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Ignite Phyzio & Sports Performance – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Ignite Phyzio is a practice for athletes, regardless of whether you play a sport or you just want to win at the sport of LIFE. I’m a firm believer that everyone is an athlete in their own right and, thus, should be treated as such. I approach patient care with movement in mind, so the ultimate goal is to help people get rid of their pain as quickly as possible so that they build robust and resilient bodies to withstand whatever demands they throw at it.

I see all of my patients and clients for 60 minutes, one-on-one, and their care is 100% individualized to their goals and their needs. People want to be heard and deserve to have their stories told, and being in a position to listen and empower patients to advocate for their health is probably the most rewarding part of my job.

I strive to provide the ultimate patient experience, so that’s why all of the physical therapy and rehab work is provided only by the physical therapist, me. And that will always be the case. I’m also available to my clients after hours to be able to answer questions, be a sounding board, or provide guidance as they work their way back from whatever injury they’re dealing with.

My favorite part of this business I’ve created is the fact that I get to work in a gym setting on a daily basis. My office is located inside NXTLVL Sport & Fitness in La Habra, which is a 10,000+ square foot facility that has every training modality and piece of equipment I could ever want or need to best treat athletes and active adults. I truly believe that the environment of a facility says a lot about the type of care that’s being provided. And there’s nothing more inspiring to a rehabbing athlete than being surrounded by strong women and men who have taken their health and their life into their own hands.

One of my specialties is treating individuals who’ve had knee injuries, specifically ACL reconstructions. This is a population that I’ve developed a deep passion for because they are often not rehabbed in a way that’s conducive to their goals and getting back to sport. I’ve spoken at conferences and done deep dives into the research and I’m driven to provide a rehab experience that’s individualized, sport-specific, and backed by research and that’s what I try to do every single day. ACL injuries have really become an epidemic across the globe, so providing an effective rehab experience AND working to reduce injury risk are two things that I’m extremely passionate about.

My other main specialty is treating overhead athletes, specifically those with shoulder or elbow injuries. I played baseball my whole life and have always had a deep passion for the sport. So, I’ve spent the last five years of my career really pursuing work with baseball and softball athletes and it’s become a population that I truly love working with.

And I’m excited to pursue working more with that population with a new location coming soon in Costa Mesa. I’ll be fulfilling a dream of working with high-level baseball players and also be able to serve the south Orange County region, so I’m stoked for that!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
My favorite part about Orange County is how diverse the population is. I have the luxury of getting to know my patients well. Spending an hour at a time with them and seeing them over the course of weeks (or months depending on the injury) allows me to become close with my clients in a way that I don’t think most health care providers can. And learning about people and their background and experiences from all walks of life is something that I don’t think many regions of the country can provide.

I also love that I’m a hop, skip, and jump away from the beach, mountains, or desert any day of the week. And my heaven on earth is just down the road, Dodger Stadium.

My least favorite part is by far the TRAFFIC, but that’s definitely not exclusive to Orange County!

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