EastTennessee Physical Therapy News
I love my community as it has givenme the love of my life, amazing children, fantastic grandchildren, and the drive to pursue my passion of helping others. In turn, I want to give back to this community that has contributed so much to who I am. My physical therapy journey may have started and finished here, but it’s takenme all over the Midwest in the process. struggled to find a major that enabledme to helpmy community. A chemistry teacher, of all people, pointedme in the direction of physical therapy. Professor Sysk informedme of the need our area had for physical therapists— in the‘70s, only two physical therapists worked within 50 miles of Eliabethton. I then declaredmyself a premedmajor as they didn’t have a pre-PT major at the time. After I graduated withmy bachelor’s, I ventured to Memphis to continue my education at the University of Tennessee. UT was the only physical therapy school in the state and only took 16 students a year, so I was very fortunate: The small-town boy goes to the largest city in Tennessee to fulfill his dreams! I had outstanding instructors who played a crucial role inmoldingme into the practitioner I am today. One of my mentors, Dr. Ann Graig, was an anatomy instructor who taught from a physical therapy standpoint, which showed me a lot of the“why”to our techniques. My M y P hysical T herapy J ourney W hat T ennessee H as T aught M e O ver the Y ears I went to Milligan College 5 miles from Eliabethton, Tennessee, where I initially
When I left North Carolina, I started graduate school at East Tennessee State University to work on a master’s in education. I still had a passion for physical therapy, so I took jobs in nursing homes to support myself. As life happens, I married the love of my life and had two beautiful kids. Then I took a job as the clinical director at the biggest hospital in the area, Johnson City Medical Center. As I settled intomy new role, I got involved with Eliabethton High School, treating their athletes on the sidelines in 1977. I also assisted various other high schools and became familiar with the sports section of the American Physical Therapy Association. I ended up developing an emergency care course to teach sideline emergency care the way we did at Eliabethton High School for years. I’ve done speaking engagements for the courses since 1988, so EliabethtonTennessee, has a worldwide reputation because of the classes we’ve developed. It’s now a supplemental online emergency training course! When I’mnot at work, I enjoy time withmy family or volunteering with Eliabethton High’s sports program. I’ve been assisting their sports program for almost for 43 year and it’s been so rewarding to see the programgrow. In-fact, our football team just won the Tennessee 4A state championship, which was the first time they had done so in 81 years. My wife and I have four grandchildren, and we see them almost every day. They come to the house to get a snack, do their homework, and play in the backyard afterward. In the summer and fall, we take everyone to the lake. I think our
other mentor, Dr. Ray Patterson, taught me a lot about the administrative side of PT, and I still correspond with him to this day. However, it was during an internship with the Memphis VA that I found a passion for the orthopedic field. I worked in the spinal cord injury and burn center, where I spent a lot of time working with the patients and the doctors. “As I helped severely injured soldiers transition from the war, talking with them about the realities they faced increased my communication skills tremendously.” It was at the end of the VietnamWar, so I saw many things young physical therapists don’t often see. As I helped severely injured soldiers transition from the war, talking with them about the realities they faced increasedmy communication skills tremendously. After I graduated, I moved to North Carolina, where the scope of my practice grew. My involvement with a local rescue squad provided me emergency medical training. Around that time, I also started volunteering for high school athletics to provide prehospital care for athletes before EMTs arrived.
amazing community is the best-kept secret in Tennessee. Life doesn’t get much better than this in East Tennessee.
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