Physical Therapy PT

| 17 June 2024

The data in this blog is for general informational purposes only and information presented was accurate as of the publication date.

Finding fulfillment beyond the field: Robert Killebrew’s pivot from linebacker to physical therapist

In the world of American football, Robert Killebrew, PT, DPT, USAHS 2017, was a force to be reckoned with—a fierce linebacker for the University of Texas Longhorns from 2005-07, known for his intensity and dedication on the field. Today, his legacy extends far beyond the gridiron. Dr. Killebrew is a catalyst for healing and hope in Central Texas, renowned for his work as a Sports Performance Physical Therapist.

Dr. Killebrew’s transition from “punishing linebacker to pain reliever” reflects the change that can occur through steadfast determination and a deep sense of calling. Inspired to give back to his community and make a meaningful impact, he sought a profession that would allow him to combine his passion for fitness with his innate desire to serve others.

From injury to inspiration

After sustaining injuries during his football career, Dr. Killebrew found himself drawn to rehabilitation and recovery. “I was looking for a profession that allowed me to stay active and apply the things I’ve learned throughout my life,” he says.

As the clinical director at FYZICAL Klein, Dr. Killebrew works with NFL players, NBA athletes, cheerleaders, professional baseball players and MMA fighters. Rather than earning fame for competing against opposing players, he now dedicates his expertise to rebuilding injured athletes, restoring their mobility and reducing pain.

Dr. Killebrew advances physical therapy with a unique perspective. He draws on his professional sports background and previous roles in construction and coaching. Dr. Killebrew understands the mindset of an athlete—their motivations, fears and anxieties—and uses this insight to tailor his tactics for each client.

Through his time as a patient, he gained a deep understanding of the importance of compassion in the healing process.

“My experience gave me an edge. I foster credibility because I’ve been there before. I know what it takes to push yourself beyond your perceived limits,” he explains.

For Dr. Killebrew, physical therapy is about more than just treating injuries; it’s about empowering his clients to overcome challenges and reach their full potential. Through a combination of traditional techniques and innovative interventions, he helps his clients navigate the physical and mental obstacles on their road to recovery.

Killebrew’s therapeutic practice incorporates a rounded focus on sleep, hydration, nutrition, stress management and mindfulness, alongside nontraditional techniques such as dry needling, decoupling, reprogramming and reflexology. “I leverage a biopsychosocial approach – this has been my compass as I navigate patient pain,” he says, “Everyone responds to distinct methods.”

His style centers on connecting with clients on a deeper level and building trusting relationships. “We discuss everything under the sun except sports – books, movies or other interests,” Dr. Killebrew says. He explains that this helps him determine their passions and motivations to push them to return to doing what they love.

“People only care what you know if they know that you care,” Dr. Killebrew argues, “If you care, they will follow you to the ends of the earth.”

Robert Killebrew USAHS Alum

Teamwork and transformation

Dr. Killebrew found the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) competitive and life-altering. “That was a huge success to me—a foot in the door,” he says.

One of the cornerstones of Dr. Killebrew’s methodology is interdisciplinary collaboration, a tool he learned while at USAHS.

“During my time in the program, I learned how to work as a team and gain insight from every situation,” he explains.

Dr. Killebrew credits his fellow students’ remarkable motivation and altruism as sources of inspiration. “Applying that collaborative spirit to my practice has helped me immensely,” he explains. “I now know I don’t have to handle everything alone; instead, I can lean on my resourceful colleagues.”

By working closely with other healthcare professionals, he ensures that his clients receive holistic care that addresses their unique needs and goals. This collaborative technique enhances patient outcomes and fosters a sense of community and support.

Want to know more about our DPT Program?

Program InformationHow to ApplyRequest Information

The reward of restoring strength

Perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of Dr. Killebrew’s work is the opportunity to witness the power of physical therapy. Whether helping clients recover from a career-threatening injury or seeing them return to their sport stronger, each triumphant success story is a poignant reminder of why he chose this calling.

Dr. Killebrew focuses on the mutually beneficial exchange between him and those he treats. He explains that he loves his role and sees it as more than work but an act of love.

“Your success is my success. I lift someone and push them to go somewhere they never thought possible,” he says.

His dedication to his clients and commitment to excellence have earned him a reputation as a trusted ally in sports performance. His list of clients demonstrates the impact he has made in the lives of athletes at every level.

Driven by a desire for growth and impact, Dr. Killebrew continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in physical therapy. What’s next for him? He’s developing new protocols for CTE treatment and neuroplasticity and expanding his reach in the sports world.

Dr. Killebrew’s journey from linebacker to healer represents the power of resilience, empathy and purpose. Through his work, he inspires others to overcome adversity and embrace the healing process, one step at a time.

Read articles about Dr. Killebrew in The Alcalde and The Houston Chronicle.

Are you inspired?

There could be an article about you here one day. Take charge of your own life-story!

Take charge of your own life-story

Request Information

More Physical Therapy PT Articles

Upcoming Physical Therapy PT events