Monthly Archives: May 2014

Peer-to-Peer Member Spotlight: Getting to Know Dr. Scott Hasson

ImageDr. Scott Hasson has been in teaching and research for 29 years, and currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at Georgia Regents University.

His active career and dedication to the physical therapy profession earn him recognition as the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia’s May Member Spotlight.

Let’s meet PTAG member Dr. Hasson:

What is your educational background?

I have a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology/Chemistry, and a Masters in Physical Education both from California State University – Fresno. I have a Doctorate in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado, and Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston.

How did you end up in the PT industry?

I already had my Doctorate in Exercise Science and was working as the Director of Rehabilitation in Cheyenne, WY., for a pain management center where I focused on work hardening and on-site training, preparing individuals returning to work.

This was in the very early 80’s and physical therapists and occupational therapists seemed to know very little regarding principles of exercise physiology and motor learning. I realized I did not know enough about pathology, and wanted to move into a more medical focused field.

I considered medicine, but felt I could contribute to physical therapy and perhaps have an impact on the field by promoting exercise science.

I contacted Dr. Helen Hislop at the University of Southern California – after reading some of her work and editorials. She suggested we meet and I flew from Wyoming to Rancho Los Amigos in Downey, CA. Her guidance and advice helped launch me into the field.

Ultimately I wrote the first text on Clinical Exercise Physiology and have been a proponent for Exercise Science as a basis for rehabilitation – especially for patients with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis – for the past 25 years.

What is the best part about your job?

I enjoy mentoring both faculty and students.

I try to use my network to advance my students while they are here working on their Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), usually by trying to get them affiliations with outstanding clinicians. Once they graduate, I recommend continued growth in the field through residencies, obtaining advanced credentials or becoming PhD’s for those interested in research and mentoring.

I also work with faculty to assist them in realizing and pursuing their dreams in the field. Sometimes it is assisting them in writing their research or in trying to get the financial support for their professional growth or service ideas.

At this time in my career I am here to serve my students, faculty and profession.

Who has been one of the most influential people in your career?

There are two individuals – Dr. Helen Hislop who started me in the field and Dr. Elizabeth Protas, Dean of the College of Allied Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX.

These two women – along with my wife Ellen and three daughters Karen, Annie and Katie – are the reason why I have had success in my career.

My daughter Karen is a DPT who recently sat for her Neurological Certified Specialist exam after completing her Neuro Residency with Harris County Health in the Houston Medical Center.

What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?

People may be surprised to know that I already had my doctorate prior to becoming a physical therapist. Also, that my daughters collect snakes, and now that two of them have moved out of the house, I am the official “Snake Man!”

Do you know an extraordinary PT, PTA or student worth of recognition? Show your support by submitting nominations at www.ptagonline.org/peer-to-peer.

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Avoid Overtraining: Staying Safe While Improving Fitness

Overtraining can be a concern for all people pursuing fitness – no matter age or activity.

Regular exercise can help produce long-term benefits, but it is important that all activities are done safely and in a manner that prevents injury while improving physical performance. Pushing your body too hard can result in serious injuries that may be detrimental to your health – and fitness goals.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), overtraining injuries are musculoskeletal injuries that occur due to more activity or exercise than your body is used too – and it can happen to anyone who significantly increases the intensity or changes type of activity.  

Overtraining injuries can include physical injuries, as well as general fatigue and other symptoms. These symptoms can range from physiological changes, such as increased heart rate or blood pressure, to behavioral shifts including decreased motivation, lowered self-esteem or even personality changes.

After a hard workout, it is important to be aware of these symptoms and to recognize any significant changes.

Fortunately, there are a number of strategies to safely – and successfully – improve your fitness. Try following these tips from Move Forward PT, to avoid overtraining injuries:

  • Avoid increasing exercise difficulty level too quickly – Exercise should progress at a gradual pace, try following a structure plan that increases your activity steadily to avoid potential injury.
  • Pay attention to your body: Watch your body for symptoms and signs of overtraining.
  • Ease into it: If you are new to fitness, be sure to take things slow. The lack of conditioning and gradual body build-up can lead to serious injuries including, stress fractures, muscles tears and knee problems.
  • Take a break: If you feel tired, listen to your body. Try lessening your activity or resting to help your body recover after a tough workout.

Physical therapists are available to help you reach your fitness goals while achieving long-term health benefits. Using their knowledge of mobility, motion and management, they can devise safe exercise plans that improve your quality of life, while avoiding the risk of overtraining.

Find a PT in your area to get started with your custom fitness plan.

For additional resources on fitness safety and overtraining prevention from American Physical Therapy Association and the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia visit www.moveforwardpt.com or www.ptagonline.org.