By Lily Belcher
Eighteen years ago, physical therapist and now Brandon resident Cosi Belloso was assigned the amputee rotation at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami because she “was the low man on the totem pole and got stuck with the amputee rotation that nobody wanted.”
During her rotation, she met her mentor, Paul Kleponis, the senior physical therapist at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“[He] was just an amazing mentor and he just taught me everything I know,” Belloso said when explaining her introduction to amputee physical therapy. “It’s kind of hard not to [become passionate about helping amputees] when you are being mentored by someone who is so passionate about what they do.”
After working at Tampa General Hospital and Fusion HealthCare, Belloso opened her own practice, Palanca PT, and created Cosi Talks, a website dedicated to educating patients and caregivers on prosthetics and exercises for new amputees.
Belloso first attracted an online audience to Cosi Talks three years ago, where she hosts live shows with doctors and patients to discuss issues amputees face. She recognized a need for a physical therapist specializing in amputee patients after visiting online support groups on Facebook where “many amputees were asking very basic questions that should have been answered by their clinicians.”
She posted live videos to establish credibility and form connections with the members of online support groups, which she transferred to her own website and Facebook page to reach members of the amputee and limb loss community nationwide in January 2018.
“The mission of my show is to educate, inform and empower,” said Belloso. “There’s so much out there that people need to learn when they become an amputee and it’s very overwhelming.”
On each weekly Cosi Talks episode, Belloso features different aspects of being an amputee, such as rehabilitation, medications or prosthetics.
While many of her guests are from her local community, Belloso has featured athletes, such as the first WWE amputee wrestler, Zachary Gowen, and two-time world champion bilateral amputee drag motorcycle racer Reggie Showers.
Veterans and bomb survivors have also made appearances on Cosi Talks, including Sergeant First Class Daniel Metzdorf, who was a member of the Golden Knights and the first above-the-knee amputee to return to active duty with the 82nd Airborne Division.