Michael Nula was introduced to the world of physical therapy in a painful way. When he was 17, he suffered a knee injury, serious enough to prevent him from playing basketball his senior year in high school.
“My parents were so positive, encouraging and instrumental in helping me to see that, although one door was closing, another was opening,” Nula said in his 40 Under Forty application. “They motivated me to pursue a career in physical therapy because of my love for the human sciences, but more importantly because I would bring a level of understanding and empathy in the psychology of healing when helping others.”
He founded Elite Physical Therapy Inc. in Warwick in 2002 and worked to see it grow into one of the largest private physical therapy practices in the state, with five locations and 35 employees. Elite became one of the first private physical therapy centers in the state to use electronic health records and currently is integrating iPads into the practice.
With a doctorate in physical therapy, obtained in 2009 from Temple University in Philadelphia, Nula said he and his staff “invest a great deal in professional development,” taking part in weekly meetings, hosting in-house workshops and regularly attending management seminars.
Nula, 37, and Elite Physical Therapy work with and participate in more than 40 charities, running the gamut from the Arthritis Foundation and American Heart Association to the University of Rhode Island Alumni Association. At URI, where Nula received his master’s degree in physical therapy in 2001, he established the first alumni-donated endowment to provide monetary support for the university’s physical therapy program. •