Spotlight - Ashley Riley
Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist
Describe your career path from residency graduation to your current position.
After residency graduation, it was clear to me that I was still so eager to learn, and that staying with UE/ProRehab, and the residency team was the best place for me. I transitioned to the Bowling Green, KY location where Kyle Matsel and I helped grow the residency. I learned and grew as a clinician as a residency mentor and was able to begin treating athletes at Western Kentucky University in the athletic training room. I spent several years doing that before moving to Iowa and taking a position as a sports physical therapist in a progressive clinic focused on athletes and performance PT. The staff in Iowa was nothing short of amazing and I continued to elevate my skills and passion for athletes, as well as began training in pelvic floor PT. In 5 years at that position, I became more niched in my practice as a sports and women's health PT. In a family move to Fargo, ND I took a leap and opened my business Move Wise Physical Therapy, a niche practice located out of a CrossFit gym where I treat functional fitness athletes, pregnant and postpartum athletes, and college/professional/tactical athletes. I am also the Medical Director for the Dakota Games, a certified CrossFit event in Fargo, ND.
What are you passionate about in your work?
I am passionate about providing a higher-level quality of care for the athlete, always learning, and growing in ways to take better care of athletes, filling gaps in my knowledge and seeking greater understanding. I am passionate about female PTs having career opportunities across all levels of sport, athlete wellness and prevention, mentoring and teaching. As well, I am passionate about helping female athletes better understand their bodies while navigating pregnancy and postpartum athleticism.
How did the residency experience help shape your success?
Without a doubt the residency experience, and the people within the residency, taught me more lessons and gave me more value than I could ever list here, but here are my favorites:
- Never stop learning, don't be afraid to ask for help, get better every day, get out of your comfort zone.
- The importance of having mentors and people who can support your goals and keep you accountable.
- You may think the career you want is unattainable, but it's not. Dream big, go for your goals, and enjoy the process.
In all honesty, the residency was so much more than learning to be sports PT. It grew me from a good academic student to an exceptional clinician, but almost more than that, it gave me wonderful opportunities to explore my strengths and weaknesses, to meet so many wonderful people, life lessons and growth opportunities, and a wonderful family to be a part of. It was an absolute game-changer in my life and career.
Advice for current DPT students?
If I could bottle up everything from PT school through residency to where I am right now, I think I have encountered fear, discomfort, self-doubt, and anxiety more than I can count. But don't let those feelings limit you; use them as a catalyst for growth. Keep a growth mindset. Gather an amazing group of supporters around you. And know that "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts" ~ Winston Churchill.
Anything else you would like to share about the profession or your residency experience? (Speaking to prospective residents)
I learned right away in residency to be willing to fail, to ask for help, to be open to feedback, say yes to every opportunity that presents itself, and stop comparing yourself to others. I encourage you to approach it with a growth mindset. You will be surrounded by the best teachers and mentors, and it will be a springboard for you to achieve more than you ever thought possible.
Ashley Riley, PT, DPT, MHA
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist