The Beginnings of BounceBack

The founder of BounceBack, Jim Krueger, is a U.S. Naval Academy Alum, military veteran, and MBA graduate. Unfortunately, Jim sustained numerous orthopedic injuries that ultimately derailed his military career aspirations.

After seven orthopedic surgeries — it became clear that something major was missing from the recovery process.

Injuries have a strange way of pushing you into dependency and fear. Activities that were once thoughtless are now monumental (e.g., navigating stairs, putting on a shirt). And the mind can become consumed with hypothetical or imagined scenarios that may or may not happen causing significant stress and negative thought spirals. It’s important because they directly impede your healing. Having access to others who really get it can provide an immediate outlet to calm these thoughts of worry, doubt, and frustration.

Many people are going through tough times and could benefit from a little camaraderie, and positivity boost. Even if you have the strong support of your family and friends (like Jim did) there is still something unique, calming, and emotionally lifting to know you are not alone in your recovery journey. Finding others who are currently in your same boat or have walked in your shoes can have a significant impact.

There were two types of experiences that collided to form BounceBack.

  1. First, during the many years in and out of doctor’s offices and physical therapy clinics, a notable highlight was bumping into someone with the same injury, and the immediate lift in spirits and conversation (tips and tricks, useful gear, or a quick pep talk). The ability to joke, commiserate, or simply connect made the experience feel strikingly different – it felt hopeful and less overwhelming by being more present, celebrating small wins, and feeling less alone.
  2. Second, doing random errands in a knee brace, hip brace, crutches, or sling – it was fascinating how often that piece of gear sparked a meaningful conversation with a complete stranger many, with someone who had that same injury and experience.

That’s when it started to come together.

There is a vast amount of untapped knowledge and encouragement that patients can give. Orthopedic injuries are extremely common, and people want to share their story and be there for others because they know how challenging it was for them.

Experience was the starter, but BounceBack needed something more. BounceBack’s co-founder, Tracy, has her PhD in psychology, played Division I soccer, and undergone multiple ACL surgeries. She aims to integrate evidence-based approaches to improve the overall healing process and outcomes. The mind-body connection is a complex relationship between our thoughts, emotions, and physical well-being with our mental and emotional states influencing our physical health and vice versa. This inseparable link is gaining more recognition and acceptance; however, current injury recovery practices don’t regularly address the mind and we need more research to fully understand the intricacies.

BounceBack can be a catalyst to advance a more holistic approach to the practice and the science of injury recovery

BounceBack is the start of what’s been missing. For now, we focus on enabling people with injuries to connect with others going through the same experience. Success can be as small as finding ONE meaningful connection, finding a little bit of comfort, or finding that one trick. And there is much more to come. Injuries are painful, but suffering is optional. We can all bounce back to our normal or bounce forward from even the toughest challenges with just a little bit of direction and support.

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