Friendship Health Rehab Graduate Fully Recovers and Earns Coveted Spot in VCU’s Women Soccer Program

ROANOKE, Va. (February 28, 2020) – Friendship Health, a leader in rehabilitation, skilled nursing and post-acute care, is proud to announce that Ella Higgins, one of the community’s recent rehabilitation graduates, has fully recovered from an ACL injury and was named one of 10 signees to join Virginia Commonwealth University’s NCAA Division 1 women’s soccer program in 2020.

Recently Higgins, along with Jennifer Maxey, Friendship Health’s director of therapy services, appeared on WSLS’ Daytime Blue Ridge to discuss the injury and the personalized therapy regimen they developed together.

"We spoke with Ella, reached out to her family, got permission from her orthopedic surgeon and together we reviewed options for equipment and various tools that we could use and developed a plan,” said Maxey.

One of the tools utilized was Friendship Health’s underwater treadmill, which was instrumental in Higgins’ recovery.

“I’m feeling stronger than ever,” said Higgins.  “I’m so thankful for Friendship’s help because I honestly wouldn’t be here without their underwater treadmill.  It allowed me to gain my confidence back, but most importantly, my strength in my knee.”

In addition to using the treadmill, the team also created an aquatic exercise program that helped Higgins practice and perform various dynamic and more aggressive activities, safely.

"We were so excited to hear from Ella, as so many people think we that we only work with older adults,” said Maxey.  “Obviously we do, but we are able to take care of people of all ages.”

Friendship Health’s award-winning therapy is available at both campuses.  In 2019, Friendship was named best rehab/post-op facility by Roanoker Magazine’s best of survey with the platinum award, and Southwest Virginia Living Magazine’s readers’ choice awards gave Friendship’s rehab the gold overall award.

To access the Daytime Blue Ridge segment, click here.  

For more information about Friendship Health’s rehabilitation services, please contact Maxey at 540.777.8460 for Friendship South, or Director of Inpatient/Outpatient Rehab Diane Bell at 540.777.5749 for Friendship North.

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367 Hershberger Road, Roanoke, VA 24012


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5647 Starkey Road, Roanoke, VA 24018


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