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Poise and Performance | When an Athlete 'Goes Pro' ...Transitioning from competing to a career as an athlete.

Updated: Feb 18

This week we take a moment to recognize our resident Physical Therapy Consultant, Dr. Arlaina Brown, DPT. Dr. Brown is an elite athlete herself who earned many championships and accolades as a junior as well as at the collegiate level while completing as a Sprinter at Arizona State University. We wanted to pick her brain a bit about how her experiences as an athlete helped equip her for performance in her profession as a Physical Therapist.


What do you enjoy most about your profession?

As a physical therapist, my role is to assist my patients in getting back to what they need and love to do whether it’s to compete in a competitive/recreational sport or something as basic as to have less pain to allow them to take care of their family.

Arizona State Alumni State Track Champion Arlaina Davis Brown

I know the demands in reaching your level in your profession were high both academically and professionally. What was the most challenging aspect of your athletic career that strengthened you to pursue your profession?

When a patient comes to me my goal is to get them back on track with doing the things they enjoy doing. Fortunately, while at Arizona State University I never suffered an injury serious enough to prevent me from doing what I loved. Furthermore, to the lay person, I had it easy because I had been given a “free ride” for my education. However, this “free ride” in fact came at a cost of balancing my studies with the demands of my sport. In addition, I was not guaranteed this scholarship each year and was expected to perform at my highest level to earn the scholarship for the upcoming year. I had to always be ready to roll and if I didn’t, I would jeopardize my scholarship and furthermore my performance on the track.

Athletes often have to analyze their performance versus their goals and reassess their training program. Does this approach apply to your practice?

As I interact with various patients, my outlook is very similar in that I always want to commit to my patient to get them to be successful in achieving their goals. One viewpoint I often keep in mind, is to not get into the rut of doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Being able to identify specific needs can be crucial in determining the best road to success.

edavvi racing physical therapist arlaina brown athlete doing functional movement screen

Arlaina applies her own athletic experience to her practice. Photo by: Teri Richardson, @flat4fun IG

Was it difficult transitioning from your track career to your profession? Do you have any regrets?

Although I did have a successful college track career, I have always thought back to ways I may have done things differently to have even more success.

I try to go through life without having regrets and avoid asking myself “what if…”. Instead, I look at each situation as a learning experience and an opportunity for growth as an individual.


Preparation is half the battle. Prime up the novel way with iON's CHARGE warmup rub with Cayenne, Shea and Creatine


What my you say to other athletes who may be nearing the point of determining the next step in their professional careers beyond their sport?

So, you ask how does one go from athlete to professional? It’s as simple as being faithful in your actions, do what you enjoy, be progressive in your learning and always do the right thing and the rest will simply fall into place.

Arlaina still feeds her "athletic spirit" competing as a Masters Athlete for Edavvi Racing!

black doctor woman therapist arlaina brown physical therapist

Arlaina Brown was a student athlete at Arizona State University and obtained her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Indianapolis. She possesses over thirteen years of experience in various disciplines and as an elite athlete herself, has keen skills in working with athletes at all levels. Arlaina still competes in the sport she loves as a Masters Athlete while supporting her husband, Football Coach, Robert Brown, son, Aaron and son-on-the-way Michael!

Arlaina serves as a Physiology Consultant to iON Performance, helping us understand the needs and inform our novel solutions.


Learn more about iON and how we help athletes like you relieve sore muscles and recover from intense training!

speed skater ion performance winter sports

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