For many people, playing a sport is the pinnacle of their childhood and adult life. Whether it’s basketball, football, dance, or more, these different physical activities can have a great influence on not only the body, but also the mind. For Eric Griffin, Physical Therapist Assistant at Athletico Physical Therapy and Owner of Elite Performance Academy, providing an environment that focuses on both hard work and safety is an important philosophy that he puts into action every day.
Griffin was born in Chicago, Illinois, but for over twenty years has made Michigan City his home. After graduating high school, he made the move to Northwest Indiana in 1994. After growing up in a busy, always on-the-go city, Griffin was drawn to the quiet, welcoming community he found in Michigan City.
“It’s not as fast-paced as Chicago,” he explained. “I grew up in a not so great part of the city, too, and if I wanted to go somewhere, I had to take a bus or a 30-40 minute ride. So I love that Michigan City is really accessible and quiet. It’s such a great place to raise a family as well.”
It’s also a great place to begin a promising career in a field he’s always been passionate about. In 1999, Griffin was certified as a personal trainer. But it was one certification through the National Academy of Sport Medicine that impacted him and set him on the course to where he is today.
“The founder of the Academy was a physical therapist, so because of that, his take on personal training was completely different from the certificaiton that I had taken at first,” Griffin said. “I learned more about the body, how everything is linked in one kinetic chain. So that certification is what sparked my interest in physical therapy.”
Griffin decided to go back to school and get his degree. He attended Ivy Tech and in 2007, received his Associates of Science in Physical Therapy. With that degree, he became a physical therapist assistant. Currently, he works at Athletico Physical Therapy in Michigan City.
“As an assistant, I have to follow a plan of care that is set by the physical therapist,” Griffin said. “We see people with a variety of medical issues. We see people who have problems with their rotator cuff, shrunken spine issues, knee replacements, ankle issues, and more. Any muscle or skeletal issue really.”
As a physical therapist assistant, he follows a plan already laid out and has a goal to have patients be able to move independently with the help of different programs and techniques to target their problem area.
“Athletico has been a great place to work and has been a great learning opportunity,” Griffin said of his time at Athletico Physical Therapy.
With the knowledge he has gained from Athletico and his past experience as a personal trainer, this past November Griffin started his own company, Elite Performance Academy. Located at The Courts of NWI, this sports performance company focuses on scientific principals that allows Griffin to provide the best programs for those who come to him. He works with kids and adults on a number of skills, from agility and strength, to balance and cooridination.
“My love for sports, along with my experience in this field gives me an advantage because I know certain techniques, like positioning your ankle and putting more force into the ground to make you faster,” Griffin said. “Those are things that I didn’t know when I was younger.”
While the latest scientific research is important to the drills and programs he sets up, the philosophy he has learned during his experience as a personal trainer and a physical therapist assistant has greatly influenced how he runs his company and how he interacts with the people he meets on the court. His goal is not only to build strength in the body, but also in the mind.
“The goal of my company is to help kids reach their full potential, not just as athletes, but as a young man or woman when they leave my gym,” he explained. “To have my own company is truly amazing, but to be able to affect the lives of kids, not just athletically, but also their minds is rewarding. To give them an experience they will never forget and to have conversations and long lasting relationships with them is what it is all about for me.”
When Griffin is not working with kids and adults looking to better themselves mentally and physically, he is working with his church, New Hope Baptist in Michigan City. He also loves to listen to gospel and hip-hop music, and names J. Cole as his favorite artist. He also loves spending time with his family, his wife and five children. His son is continuing the family’s love of sports at Tarleton State University, where he is playing college basketball.
Eric Griffin is showing the Northwest Indiana community his passionate philosophy of what a safe, but hardworking environment can do for the mind and body.
For more information about Elite Performance Academy, please visit https://thecourtsofnwi.com/elite-sports-performance/.