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Continuing a family legacy

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan
By Jenna Duncan

After spending years in a small town, the Soells decided it was time to come home and, in a way, continue a family legacy.

Maegan Soell, a native of Denton, and her husband, Doug, moved back to Denton in 2013 to open Velocity Physical Therapy, making Maegan Soell a third-generation Denton business owner after her grandfather and father.

“We wanted to raise our family here, that was the big thing,” Doug Soell said. “Our daughter just started school and we didn’t want to be moving her around when she’s in third or fourth grade. This is obviously where [Maegan] wanted to be.”

For her, this is a continuation of a family legacy, since her grandfather owned Lane’s Ice Cream on Congress Street and her father owns Lane Real Estate.

“They’ve been really hard workers and good examples, so I always knew I wanted to do something, so now I get to help Doug start this,” Maegan Soell said. “The customer service was really good, but they also formed relationships, and that was the important thing. So we’re trying to do that with our patients.”

Now, Maegan runs the front of the office while Doug runs the back, making Velocity one of the few independent physical therapy clinics in the area that is owned by a physical therapist. He is also one of a handful of certified orthopedic specialists in the city, and offers a continuing wellness program for patients after therapy is over, making the practice distinct.

This is their first independent venture, after Doug co-owned a practice in Duncan, Okla. There, they were able to build a fun, family friendly environment, something he said he is trying to replicate in Denton.

“Our big thing is the family environment,” he said. “That’s what we strive to do, to make people feel like family. That was the theme throughout the other clinics I ran. People love that we worked together and how fun and friendly our environment is.”

To start acclimating patients so they feel like family, Soell starts the first session by talking to the patient at length about their problem and any other complications so he can determine the root of the problem. From this, he can develop a treatment plan and begin to take action.

For patient Edward Newton, who suffers from dizzy spells, this discussion took less than an hour before they began taking corrective action.

“I’ve probably been to 20 doctors and everything else, and he told me within 45 minutes what my problem was when all other doctors couldn’t,” Newton said. “I’ve been fighting my problem for more than five years, and been going to him for a month and a week and he’s getting it straightened out — and I feel like a human being again.”

Vertigo, the term for chronic dizziness, is one of Soell’s specialties, as well as orthopedic physical therapy. The treatment plans for serious conditions can be lengthy but are more beneficial for a client than someone who promises to cure a patient in a few sessions, Soell said.

“I always tell my patients, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ and if people try to tell you we’re going to get you better in two visits, that’s pretty tough to do,” he said.

Not all insurers cover the more extensive treatment though, and it is a common issue in the field that patients have a tendency not to do the required exercises at home or are reluctant to go to the gym.

Because of these challenges his patients regularly encounter, he and the other physical therapists at his previous clinic developed a wellness program, which he is continuing in Denton. Patients who complete their required therapy can get a membership for $35 a month to work out and do strength training in the offices, with some guidance from the Soells.

Doug Soell creates an exercise program for them to follow to build on the therapy they had, and he oversees them to make sure they’re doing everything properly.

“It makes them stay committed to getting better,” he said. “That’s our whole goal — not to just get them to be pain free, but to actually make it last longer so they don’t have to see a doctor or therapist for the same problem.”

For Newton, who said he has at least a month of therapy left, Doug Soell’s approach seems to work. Soell doesn’t push Newton to do things he isn’t comfortable with and keeps a calm and friendly environment that Newton said helps him focus on getting better and eventually getting back behind the wheel of a car.

“It surprised me after the second visit how much better I already felt,” he said. “I like him because he’s laid back and easy going, and it’s working. Believe me, I’m amazed at how fast it’s actually working. I still have another month, month and a half, which is fine after five years not being able to drive.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.