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Physical therapy for all

Speak to anyone who has met Dr Karielle De Bique, physical therapist for many of Trinidad and Tobago’s national athletes and they will describe her with adjectives like knowledgeable, assertive, and respected.

Dr De Bique is the proud owner of Theracare, a physical therapy private practice based in Tobago that allows patients of all ages to enjoy the quality of life they desire through exercise and physical therapy.

Karielle’s journey towards becoming one of the country’s most prominent physiotherapists started at a young age because of a scoliosis diagnosis, coupled with her father’s keen eye that physiotherapy was one of the best professions to enter in the 90s. “This was my first initiation to physical therapy.”

Her goal in 1996 upon entering The University of the West Indies’ (Mona, Jamaica) three-year physiotherapy programme was to become Ato Boldon’s personal physical therapist. “Jamaica gave me a unique opportunity to become directly involved with bodies such as The Jamaica Sports Medicine Association and the Physiotherapy Association. This facilitated a greater appreciation for what was going to be required of me professionally in the future.”

  1. What was your experience like living in Jamaica?

Being a student in Jamaica gave me the requisite qualifications to become a licensed physiotherapist. However, Jamaica also provided me hands-on training through a two-year internship as an assistant physiotherapist with professional football club Harbour View FC. They were a very well run professional organisation with a private stadium and treatment facilities et al.

  1. What do you love most about being a physical therapist?

Working in the public sector, I get to be involved with a wide range of patients from older persons with mobility issues because of arthritis, to children born with debilitating physical weaknesses, and even athletes needing rehabilitation. Although the private sector is much more lucrative, I am directly involved in providing change where there is a definite need.

  1. What motivates you daily to continue in your chosen profession?

I have an investigative mind, and an ability to think on my feet to assist my patients. I love interacting with fellow professionals in the field, and I am constantly seeking ways to provide care to persons willing to have care provided.

I have been the national team’s lead physiotherapist for a number of major sporting events including the Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games and Central American and Caribbean Games; even being called upon for the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Today, when not working as the Physiotherapist III at the Tobago Regional Health Authority, I volunteer with the national hockey teams presently seeking qualification for the 2018 Indoor Hockey World Cup in Berlin.

  1. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I would like to spend more quality time with family, and be present with them for their major life experiences. In a professional capacity, I want to use my experience to give others more opportunities, and probably market myself much better than I have in the past.

You can contact Dr Karielle De Bique at Theracare via karielle.theracare@gmail.com

Jamila Gamero is a triathlete and former professional footballer for Sevilla FC womens Club in Spain. She is the mother of two boys, Tishad and Akim, and the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbeans female athletes.