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A kid again 

click to enlarge STARTING OVER With the help of San Luis Sports Therapy, Elijah Olivas was given another chance to be a kid again and enjoy his favorite activities. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JASON OLIVAS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Jason Olivas
  • STARTING OVER With the help of San Luis Sports Therapy, Elijah Olivas was given another chance to be a kid again and enjoy his favorite activities.

Two years ago, Elijah Olivas was in a car accident that resulted in severe injuries to his right hand and an airlift to Stanford Hospital. Elijah endured more than 20 hours of surgery, which included the replantation of his hand. The injuries made Elijah lose movement in his hand, limiting his daily activities, like participating in his traveling wrestling club.

"I felt sad because I didn't get to wrestle anymore," he said.

Elijah's dad, Jason, said that as a parent he could see that the injury had really discouraged his son.

"It was hard to get him to do any type of activity because his hand had very little movement," Jason said, "He couldn't even bend his hand at the wrist, it was just so limited and it really discouraged him from a lot of things."

Jason said his son even had to learn how to write with his left hand as he was right-handed.

Elijah is now 12 years old and is starting to get back into the normalcy of playing sports like basketball and football, sports he couldn't play before, all thanks to the folks at San Luis Sports Therapy.

San Luis Sports Therapy is a physical therapy clinic with offices in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. The clinic offers treatments and programs for orthopedic injuries, sports related injuries, hand therapy, arthritis, and vestibular rehabilitation, to name a few.

At the head of the clinic's hand therapy department is Michael Smith, who also helped Elijah through hand therapy sessions.

"Elijah is an inspirational tale of strength and determination," Smith said. "His therapy is a long and ongoing process requiring multiple surgeries along the way during which he has never complained."

Smith said that he and a team of specialists have enjoyed working with and challenging Elijah with exercises to improve mobility in his hand.

"We can't wait to see what ability we can help him recover next, and we'll all remember the experience of working with him long after our careers are over," he said.

What makes the clinic stand out from the rest is that it works closely with each individual patient, as each case is unique.

"Our goal is to promote our patient's ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. The clinic specializes in one-on-one patient care and is committed to raising the standards of patient care and customer service in health care," Smith said.

The road to recovery isn't over for Elijah, but with every session and surgery, he continues to gain movement in his hand. It's the clinic's commitment to Elijah's recovery that his dad is thankful for.

"I don't think Elijah realizes it now but when he's older, he'll understand how much gratitude we owe the great people at San Luis Sports Therapy," Jason said.

Every time Elijah has a surgery, Jason said, Smith is there to make sure he knows how to proceed with Elijah's therapy sessions to improve his recovery.

Smith and the team at San Luis Sports Therapy are helping Elijah free of charge. For them, it was a way to give back to their community, to help a child regain mobility in his hand and get back to being a kid. Jason said his son has come a long way but he has the clinic to thank.

"He's more happy, more outgoing, and he's able to go out and shoot basketballs or ride his bike again," Jason said.

For more information about the clinic, the services provided, or its locations visit

Fast fact

• Bianchi Winery and Tasting Room is joining a band of Paso Robles wineries that are coming together to raise funds for those affected by the devastating wildfires in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties. Bianchi and each participating winery will be donating $1 per bottle sold through the end of the month. For more information about the participating wineries, visit Δ

Staff Writer Karen Garcia wrote this week's Strokes & Plugs. Send tips to

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