After graduating from East Carolina University with their doctorate in physical therapy, New Bern natives Eric and Kara Kosco spent some time in Greenville sharpening their skills before deciding to travel across the country.
For two years, the husband and wife duo shared the experience and traveled to places such as Washington, Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona due to the pair being avid outdoor types and the abundance of activities each location had.
However, they didn’t decide to travel just for the thrill of visiting new places, they were also practicing wherever as traveling physical therapists they went.
After traveling between 2019 and 2021, The Koscos returned to Greenville and were offered a new opportunity — operating a new physical therapy clinic that opened Monday in Morehead City.
Youngs Physical Therapy & Sports Performance began in Greenville in October 2012 by Kevin and Jennifer Young. In April 2017, the Youngs moved to a new and bigger location. Five years later, Morehead City is home to the couple’s second location with the Koscos at the helm.
During their time as traveling physical therapists, the couple has had many first days in a new state and in a new clinic. Both explained that no matter how many first days they had, this one already felt different.
“I can feel the excitement and nerves,” said Kara Kosco. “Even though we’ve been working as therapists for five years, it feels like it’s our first day again, which is crazy because we’ve had so many first days.”
After the many “first days” the couple has had in the last two years as physical therapists at a new clinic, each gained more knowledge that they took to their next stop on their journey.
Now that the Koscos are back home, they are excited to take what they have learned and apply it to make patient physical therapy care better in Eastern North Carolina.
Actively involved, becoming physical therapists was each other’s calling
Growing up in New Bern, Eric and Kara Kosco was always active.
Whether it was playing sports year-round or being involved in extracurricular activities, the lifestyle they lived here and stayed with them into their college years. It was here that both were able to explore the reasons why they wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy.
Each has a story as to why they chose this path, Eric’s being from injuries he suffered as a child and Kara’s being a torn ACL she suffered playing intramural soccer at Appalachian State University.
The biggest reason for the two of them therapists not their education as physical therapists only came from their own experiences of being healed back to health from their injuries but the joy of being able to do so for others.
“One big reason and this is across the board with why everyone gets into physical therapy, its the help you can provide people and the joy you get from it,” said Eric Kosco. “Just seeing a patient’s joy and happiness with getting their life back is the big thing for me.”
The same is said for Kara Kosco, who explained that therapy is more about getting to know someone, what they want out of their health goals, and the satisfaction of seeing them achieve those goals along the way.
“You are really with people for weeks and by the end of it you become friends with them,” added Kara Kosco. “You see the progress they’ve made, things they can do now in their lives that they couldn’t do before, it’s really rewarding for them but rewarding for us to be a part of that growth.”
The experience of learning across the country and the skills they bring home with them
Before leaving North Carolina, Kara Kosco worked for three years with Peak Performance while Eric Kosco stayed with Youngs in Greenville.
In 2019, the Koscos decided to take up travel physical therapy and worked their first contract in eastern Kentucky. From there, they crisscrossed the country, visiting and working in every place they could in the continental United States.
The experience was eye-opening for both where Eric Kosco explained that being born and raised in New Bern, he knew the type of people and culture here. For the most part, people are the same everywhere they went, but what was different was the culture.
Learning and living in those different cultures, the Koscos took in each experience from a personal and professional standpoint.
“There is a lot of diversity in other states,” Eric Kosco added. “You get to learn a lot about people, about yourself, a lot of personal reflection.”
“Skillswise, when we traveled we learned from a lot of therapists who graduated from different schools and we would go out and learn different exercises, different techniques that we haven’t seen before,” said Kara Kosco. “Each place we went to, I would take a couple of things I really liked and am able to now create a more diverse treatment plan for patients here.”
Different settings and different paces were other key takeaways for the Koscos in their travels. The pair worked in almost every physical therapist setting except for in-home health.
Outpatient therapy, acute care in hospitals, and inpatient rehabs were a few of the settings the Koscos were able to take advantage of, with each place providing care differently depending on the patient’s needs and giving them a different outlook.
“We learned that you have to be efficient, whether it is a new documentation system, administrative tasks, new techniques or exercises, things that help make clinics run smoothly, and maybe some things that weren’t as smooth,” said Eric Kosco. “We hope we can take those things and transition into efficacy in this new clinic.”
Now back home, the couple is excited to begin a new chapter for themselves and others
After two years on the road, the Koscos took some time to reflect and made the decision to come back home in December 2021.
Both have family in New Bern and the timing of taking over Youngs’ location in Morehead City made sense.
“It was a combination of family and the opportunity,” Eric Kosco said. “We talked about it and it all brought us back here, it was like a perfect storm.”
Since their return, the Koscos have trained at the Greenville location to prepare themselves for the administrative work involved in running the clinic, while also getting back into seeing local patients and assisting with their care.
Now that the clinic has officially opened, the couple is taking the skills they’ve learned on the road, along with the skills obtained in Eastern North Carolina, and are creating a diverse option of care for all walks of life.
Each clinic is different in the fact that the Morehead City location will offer most of the services as its Greenville one, where a few others may come later as the Koscos settle back into the area.
For now, Youngs in Morehead City will offer physical therapy, recovery therapy, adult fitness and wellness, and sports performance training.
In the beginning, Eric and Kara Kosco will be the only two therapists and staff at the Morehead City clinic. A tremendous undertaking that both say they are excited and prepared to take over.
What they are also excited about is being able to extend their services to patients throughout Eastern North Carolina, knowing that locating the clinic in Morehead City will help reach patients in Craven, Pamlico, Jones, Onslow, and other surrounding counties.
“The only word I can use to describe it is surreal,” said Eric Kosco. “I’ve always dreamed of having my own clinic and my own space. As you get out in the workforce you kind of lose sight of that but seeing it come to fruition, I still don’t think it’s real. exciting.”
Reporter Trevor Dunnell can be reached by email at email@example.com. Please consider supporting local journalism by signing up for a digital subscription.