University of Nebraska Medical Center

PT student runs ultramarathons

Andrew Joseph would rather be running. A second-year physical therapy (PT) student, Andrew runs marathons in his spare time, and not just any marathons.

Out of 8-10 races – half, full, and ultramarathons – his longest race was a 100-mile ultramarathon. He believes his best race was a half marathon in 1 hour, 28 minutes. He began running to increase his fitness to play soccer competitively and fell in love with it. Unfortunately, though, an ACL injury ended his dream to do the 200-mile Moab race.

“I didn’t have suitable insurance at that time, and I was a coper (a patient who can return to pre-injury activities without ACL reconstruction), so I continued playing soccer with the ACL tear. After six months, while playing soccer, I tore my medial meniscus.”

Even before the injury, Andrew was interested in physical therapy.

“I knew in high school,” he said. “What solidified my decision was when my grandmother got involved in a devastating car accident, and I saw how PT miraculously helped her and improved her quality of life again; I knew that this was my calling. However, the injury gave me a unique experience that I needed, mainly because I want to specialize in Sports Medicine.”

Andrew moved to the U.S from Egypt with his family in 2013 and became an American citizen in 2018.

“Before coming to the U.S., I studied law at Cairo University abut decided to start over and choose the career I love – physical therapy. When I came here, I had no English, but look at me now! I will graduate from UNMC a year from now.” 

Andrew’s favorite thing about UNMC is the environment. He says the campus is well-prepared to facilitate education and help students succeed.

“You can study indoors or outdoors. There are multiple rooms for studying, for quality time, and for meals. The Center for Health Living is very close to the classrooms, encouraging students to exercise and stay healthy.”

He also says the faculty and staff are very professional and helpful.

“The campus is always clean, and the faculty are always here for us when we need them. And they are always ready to change the learning style, whether in person or online, based on the circumstances. UNMC gave me a second home and family.”

Andrew’s injuries have healed, and he just signed up for his first post-injury half marathon on April 16th. He looks forward to an ultramarathon in another two years.

1 comment

  1. Patricia Hageman says:

    Andrew – your story is so inspiring! Wow! Pat H

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