Photo courtesy: http://www.unlv.edu

I had the pleasure to briefly meet Dr. Bill O’Grady at this year’s CSM in Las Vegas (you can access my posts from the conference here, here and here).  It was so quick that I am sure he doesn’t remember me, however, I do want to give a shout out to congratulate him on winning this year’s Paris Distinguished Service Award and summarize his speech.

Since 1992, this award is the Orthopaedic Section’s highest honor given to commemorate a member’s exceptional and enduring service.  I do not have any personal ties with Paris or any of the past members, but I have had the satisfaction to read a few of these lectures that I found online over the past years.  The reason: always to learn.

The winners typically give a short history lesson of their journey to and through the years as a physical therapist.  I regularly reflect back on what I did and where I was clinically when I graduated just 6 years ago, so reading where we were as a profession ~40 years ago is quite gratifying.  It reminds me of this quote from an unknown author,

You can’t tell where you are going, unless you know where you have been.

I highly recommend you PT students and even experienced clinicians alike to read these lectures.  It will provide you encouragement to continue to go off to learn and train with the best, but also get a history lesson.  Nerd heads with history interests such as myself will enjoy them.  Sometimes we take advantage of what we do clinically (for me: direct access, spinal manipulation, dry needling) without realizing the hard work and determination of our past colleagues that got us to where are currently as a field.  However, we have a long ways to go to be leaders in MSK injuries and rehabilitation.

In this lecture, Dr. O’Grady summarizes his early years as a PT.  He recalls mainly using machines & modalities (ultrasounds, traction tables, electo-stimulators, diathermy) and thought processes comparably to a technician, rather than a current doctoral-trained clinical reasoned mind.  For you students who dislike SOAP notes…well they didn’t have these back in the day!  He then portrays how he entered PT through the Army and how these PTs were light-years ahead of everyone else in regards to collegial respect from others and direct access practitioners.  Dr. O’Grady further describes how research has bloomed over the years and continues to show that we are the leaders in neuromusculoskeletal conditions.  In addition, he promotes being a member of the APTA, ambassadors for our profession and consumers of research.

During the week of April 14-20, the APTA is pushing a movement called “Membership Matters” to show the benefits of being an APTA member.  Therefore, to show my love: I am a member and subsection member of the orthopedic section, therefore, I am able to read this invigorating lecture by Dr. O’Grady.  For you members, I recommend reading your mailed copy and/or electronic copy that you can access here (log-in required)….but for non-members, sorry can’t help ya 🙂

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