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WATCH | Tinney gains passion for hand therapy following wreck

Behind the Business by Courtney Edwards | May 8, 2023 at 4:03 a.m.
John Roach gives one of his patients a hand massage during his visit to Hot Springs Hand Therapy. – Photo by Courtney Edwards of The Sentinel-Record

Laura Tinney's career in occupational therapy all started with a car wreck, when she suffered a serious injury to her left hand, leading her to hand therapy.

At 18, she had accepted a music scholarship to Arkansas State University, where she had planned to major in journalism. However, a driver fell asleep at the wheel of another vehicle and crossed into her lane, flipping her car three times, she said, which led her to protect her head with her hands. Her left hand was degloved, meaning "either the frame of the car or the impact against the asphalt pretty much pulled my left hand off," she said.

She lost the ability to play the clarinet, something she never regained, although her hand does not limit her, she said. But, after the wreck, she also gained a love for hand therapy and changed her major from journalism to occupational therapy.

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Tinney then transferred to the University of Central Arkansas in Conway to become an occupational therapist. She then became a certified hand therapist, "the top level of certification for rehabilitation of the upper extremity," she said.

"God brought something really good from that bad thing that happened to me, and I'm so thankful that I found a career that I really love," she said. "And I know 100% that I'm in the right career, so that definitely is something that I never doubt, and I know a lot of people can't say that. This is my passion. I get to do my passion every day, and that is a huge blessing. I know it's crazy to say that losing my hand turned out to be a blessing. You know, if I could get my hand back, of course, yes I would, but I really appreciate the path that followed after that accident."

The decision to open her own private practice came in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working in a health care profession, especially in a hospital setting, her focus was mainly on patient care and working with patients with COVID, she said.

As elective surgeries slowed down during the height of the pandemic, the need for hand therapy did, as well. In wanting to get back to hand therapy, Tinney decided to open her own private practice at 216 Garrison Road, Suite A, in December 2020, she said.

"I opened Hot Springs Hand Therapy, and the patients just kept coming, and I'm so thankful for that, that I was able to continue down that career path," she said. "I really think that when God has a plan for something in your life that there's not much that anybody can do to stop it."

She was the sole owner until recently when she recruited John Roach as a co-owner. Now, they have plans to hopefully incorporate more locations for the clinic in the future, including a clinic in Hot Springs Village, she said.

"I made him a co-owner because we are so busy, and I want this to be really, really awesome, and I definitely need really good team players here at Hot Springs Hand Therapy, and John is definitely that," she said.

"He brings so much to the business. He's a super-talented therapist. ... I know that it was good with me by myself, like I felt like it was growing, but it wasn't what I really want it to be. I think it can be even better. And I think John brings that to the table, and I think that we can do even more and help even more patients with John on board," Tinney said.

"We help as many people as we can," Tinney said of the business. "We see this as a ministry. ... We really just help as many people as we can, so we don't turn anybody away. If they really have a need for hand therapy, we're gonna help them. We definitely, in this clinic, have a special place in our hearts for all of the patients that come through our doors, and we wanna make everybody feel that way, like they're important."

  photo  Laura Tinney discusses her career in hand therapy and opening her own private practice in Hot Springs, which she now shares as co-owner with John Roach. – Photo by Courtney Edwards of The Sentinel-Record

Print Headline: WATCH | Tinney gains passion for hand therapy following wreck


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