When I was told that I’d get to teach a HawkGrips Level I educational course in Kingston, Jamaica, here are the top three things that popped into my head: 1) Bob Marley, 2) Usain Bolt, and 3) rum. After spending a day instructing physical therapists (PTs) at the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI), these are the top three things I walked away thinking: 1) Bob Marley, 2) Usain Bolt, and 3) rum. Let me explain.
The setup on March 10 was the same as it has been for any other course I’ve ever instructed before. Get there early, organize all the administrative stuff, and plan time for the usual computer/IT challenges that happen. But something different right from the start with this course was the high level of genuine interest demonstrated by every one of the participants.
They were all PTs and most had trained at UWI. Their practice settings ranged from outpatient to hospital, sports and geriatric. But all of them showed up very eager to learn and get things going. Local physical therapy company Everything Therapy deserves credit for doing a great job of promoting the course and handling registration. Maybe the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee helped enhance the class atmosphere too. I’ve drank coffee all over the world and would honestly put this brand right up there with the best.
Coming into a course at an international location, I wasn’t sure what the baseline knowledge of the attendees would be regarding anatomy and soft tissue treatments. But it became clear right away that this group was as sharp and knowledgeable as any I’ve taught in the United States. Many had already utilized or at least been introduced to IASTM, as well as other advanced manual therapy techniques.
What made this group stand out even more was the infectious enthusiasm about learning a skill they could translate directly to their patients, which made for a fast-paced and highly interactive course. If you’ve never been in a room full of Jamaican PTs, trust me it’s hard not to have fun and laugh.
Admittedly, Jamaica isn’t as wealthy as the United States or many European countries, and the domestic healthcare system has its challenges. But as far as physical therapy goes, the clinicians are just as talented as anywhere else. I have no doubt there are some Jamaicans who will be receiving HawkGrips treatment at their physio appointments this week. Maybe even a few track stars, footballers, netballers and wicket keepers.
Looking back, I definitely made a few mistakes on this trip:
1. I learned that the Bob Marley Museum is only a few miles away from UWI, but my poor planning meant I wouldn’t be staying long enough in Jamaica to check it out.
2. I did get a chance to visit Usain Bolt’s restaurant, “Tracks & Records,” where I ate some amazing jerk chicken. But I also discovered the restaurant had a stage for live music, and in this case too poor planning meant I had to get some sleep and prepare for the course, so I couldn’t stay to enjoy the show.
3. One of the students gave me a local “rum ball” cookie at lunch. I’m glad there weren’t many to further tempt me or else I might not have made it through the afternoon session! So again if I planned better, I would have made sure there was time to buy more after class.
What thoughts ran through my mind on the flight home from Kingston? That I get dibs on teaching the next course in Jamaica and will make sure to: 1) visit the Bob Marley Museum, 2) eat at Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records again but stick around for live reggae music, and 3) definitely have more rum balls, just after the course this time.
Dr. Andrew Contreras is a federal physical therapist in the United States Department of Defense. He formerly served as the White House Physical Therapist during the Obama Administration and is currently working in the Washington, DC, area. These sentiments are his own and do not reflect any formal position or statements by the Department of Defense.
I have a condition that the medical world calls “hallux valgus.” Also known as a bunion, it basically means a foot deformity. To put it mildly, I actually have extreme deformities. Over the years, the symptoms worsened and began to affect my ability to walk and run. My lower-extremity muscles were always tight and I felt no relief throughout the day. Soon, my knees became impacted as well and I blew out both, resulting in bilateral meniscal repairs. My hamstrings and quads would constantly get strained and the result was…
As his F-4 Phantom jet fighter raced across the skies over North Vietnam, U.S. Air Force co-pilot Ralph Galati glimpsed a surface-to-air missile streaking menacingly toward him. Unable to evade this deadly projectile fired by enemy troops below, the Phantom shuddered from the explosive impact. It was February 16, 1972, and the Vietnam War had been raging for nearly seven years. The most controversial conflict in the history of the United States, it would eventually claim the lives of nearly 60,000 American servicemen…
Lymph is responsible for transporting essential immune cells throughout the body. When lymph becomes stagnant, it causes swelling of affected tissues, which leads to pain and dysfunction. This condition called lymphedema causes the affected skin and subcutaneous tissues to become inflamed and hardened, or fibrotic. Typically, treatment includes manual lymph drainage, a specialized hands-on technique that stimulates superficial lymph vessels to move. Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) has been proposed to…
Why Physical Therapist Dr. Keith Cronin Advocates Combining IASTM and Biomechanical Taping [Interview]
Dr. Keith J. Cronin, DPT, OCS, CSCS, has been a physical therapist for nine years and owns a niche distribution and education company in Denver called Sports and Healthcare Solutions, LLC. He works with innovative clinicians and companies from around the world to offer effective rehabilitative products and strategies that maximize patient outcomes. In 2018, Dr. Cronin will launch Biomechanikits, a distribution platform that combines quality education, great products and competitive pricing. He first became aware of HawkGrips about four years ago and soon implemented them into patient treatments.
How U.S. Paralympic Team Physical Therapist Dr. Dawn Gulick Helped Implement HawkGrips into the Widener University Curriculum [Interview]
Dr. Dawn Gulick, PhD, PT, ATC, CSCS, is a professor of physical therapy at Widener University in Chester, PA. She began her clinical career as an athletic trainer, before earning her master’s degree in physical therapy more than 30 years ago. Dr. Gulick has been a Widener faculty member for about 22 years and HawkGrips instructor for the past three years. In this Q & A article, she discusses her educational roles, extensive background with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, and how HawkGrips treatment has been implemented into the curriculum at Widener.
Why Orlando City Soccer Club Massage Therapist Desmond Diaz Treats so Many Pro Athletes with HawkGrips [Interview]
Desmond Diaz, LMT, OMT, is the team massage therapist for Orlando City Soccer Club, which competes in the premier American professional league, Major League Soccer (MLS). In this role, Diaz also provides massage therapy for the team’s minor league club (Orlando City B), and sister team (Orlando Pride) that’s a member of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). In addition, Diaz has represented the United States as a martial arts assistant coach and competitor, earning several medals in international tournaments. For this Q & A article, he discusses his role with Orlando City, how implementing HawkGrips…