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This email was sent by Ken Johnson, PT, to HawkGrips President Frank Osborne and COO Sean MacNeal in December. Johnson is the director of outpatient rehabilitation at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and we thank him for his enthusiastic support.

Sean and Frank,

Ken Johnson HawkGrips Uganda PT physical therapist Johns Hopkins Baltimore

Physical Therapist Ken Johnson proudly displays his HawkGrips carrying case with colleagues from Masindi-Kitara Medical Center in Uganda.

I am writing you to say thank you for having the courage, commitment and vision to launch HawkGrips. Kind of a strange email that I haven’t really considered sending before, but I saw on your website the ‘call to action’ and wanted to share some thoughts. ‘Courage’ may sound like an odd choice of words, but your initiative as a patient advocate who sought to deliver a better product and business model than what the industry offered has been a game-changer for my operation at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and many others.

For years I wanted to bring Graston Technique into our clinics, but with over 20 therapists, the licensing and training fees were cost-prohibitive for an operation of our size. I couldn’t get over the financial and conceptual hurdles needed to provide standardized care across our network. Since that initial meeting with our [Performance Health] representative, the affordable integration of the HawkGrips tools has taken time, but now reaches into virtually every area of outpatient care at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Unlike many new techniques that are adopted by a few daring clinicians, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization with the HawkGrips instruments was readily adopted by the majority of our clinicians. In fact, the week after we got a demo set, the rep came to remove them as he’d promised to do. I was out of the clinic that day and I remember how my phone started lighting up with texts and calls from our therapists. They demanded that I submit a purchase order for the tools so they could treat patients the following day. As we have now been a customer for four years, I am proud to say that we put two to three full sets of instruments into every clinic we open, because I believe our patients and professionals deserve the very best.

Ken Johnson Johns Hopkins HawkGrips IASTM Masindi-Kitara Medical Center

“The day I first headed out to the Masindi-Kitara Medical Center, I had no idea how I was going to make an impact on the people there. Now I fully appreciate how that experience affected me,” says Johnson.

When I speak of commitment, you may recall an Instagram post from a patient that I treated in Uganda earlier this year. The treatment outcomes of a 14 year-old girl with joint contractures from a spinal cord injury astonished the medical team and the patient’s family. I will never forget your response. “Ken, those tools need to stay with the people of Uganda, we’ll send you a new set when you get home.” I still have a hard time sharing that story without getting choked up.

The day I first headed out to the Masindi-Kitara Medical Center, I had no idea how I was going to make an impact on the people there. Now I fully appreciate how that experience affected me. Understanding that you have a business to run, there was no hesitation or equivocation in the directive. Never even a question of “who is going to pay for them?” Your commitment and sense of caring to put patients and professionals first is rare in today’s marketplace.

Lastly, as an aging clinician I’d like to add that because of HawkGrips, my hands and those of the experienced therapists on my staff no longer hurt and ache at the end of a long day of patient care. For professional athletes, the instruments enable me to get deeper into the soft tissue than I ever could with my own hands. Even our lymphatic therapists have commented on how resilient they are at the end of the week. One actually came up to give me a hug and thank me for being concerned about the needs of clinicians. With published studies reporting osteoarthritis of the hand as a leading factor in therapists altering their practice of manual therapy, it is more important than ever that our therapists are healthy and productive for a lifetime.

I’m grateful that you cared enough to share your vision for advancing IASTM instrument technology and improving access to the best tools ever to help clinicians, patients, athletes, performers, and tactical professionals perform their very best every day. The hands of a skilled manual therapist are only as good as what is in them. That is why I won’t ever let my HawkGrips instruments get out of reach.”

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