• Fit After 50: APTA Member Challenge

    Congratulations to Patsy Shropshire, PT, Paul Sullivan, PT, MHS, Cert. MDT, and Bill Case, PT, SCS, who were the top 3 finishers in our Fit After 50 APTA Member Challenge.

    The challenge was designed to recognize physical therapists who (1) remaine fit and active after 50, (2) inspire others of similar age to do the same, (3) serve the 50+ community through activities to enhance function and quality of life, and (4) promote the role of physical therapy to those 50 and older.

    Learn how you can stay Fit After 50!

    Challenge Winner!

    Patsy Shropshire, PT
    Age: 52
    Dallas TX

    Exercise has always been a part of my life. I swam competitively throughout grade school and for 2 years during college. I then began running, weightlifting, and other sports. I just completed a 10-mile run in Dallas and the ease of that run proved to me that what most Americans accept as the consequences of "normal aging" are totally preventable.

    I created a wellness program more than 10 years ago called, "Women With Balls" (WWB). It's so named because members do much of their weight training while balancing on the stability ball. We are committed to health care over disease care. Under my supervision, groups of 10 women meet at least 3 times a week for jogging, speed walking, weight lifting, stretching, sprint drills, balance drills, and yoga drills. Most WWBs are in their 50s. I teach them about anatomy, posture, proper nutrition, and injury/disease prevention. My motto is "exercise like your life depends on it." Many members are cancer survivors.

    WWB hosts a yearly Christmas 5K Fun Run and Breakfast. The entry fee is any donation to that year's cause. Past causes include bone marrow donor drives, school library book collections, and medical fund collections.

    I have given wellness talks to the Cancer Support Community, the National Charity League, the DeBusk Foundation, and students at my children's grade school. I will graduate in December 2013 with my transitional doctoral degree in physical therapy. My family is a huge part of my wellness. My husband Dan works hard so that I can pursue WWB endeavors and still be home for my kids.

    Second Place

    Paul Sullivan, PT, MHS, Cert. MDT
    Age: 52
    Barrington, IL

    I am an avid long-distance runner who has completed 8 marathons, including 3 world-class marathons, since turning 50. At this time, I’ve completed 4 of the 5 world-class marathons and my goal is to complete 5 by running the London Marathon in April 2014. When not training, I enjoy swimming, biking, and weight-training.

    I established my physical therapy practice, Barrington Rehabilitation and Sports Physical Therapy, in 1997 and am still active in the day-to-day treatment of patients and in the general operations. I recently started a "Fit Over 50" walking program at my facility. Current patients who are over 50 years old receive a free baseline screening for blood pressure, resting heart rate, BMI, and oxygen levels. Each participant gets a free pedometer. My patients are encouraged to walk five times per week and to return at the end of each month to compare their results to their base line measurements.

    My staff and I volunteer every Memorial Day weekend at "The D.A.S.H." in Barrington, a 5k running and fundraising event to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. We spend the morning stretching, massaging, and educating the runners on injury prevention and we provide information on stretching techniques following the race. The D.A.S.H. is a family event, so we work with runners of all ages. I also work occasionally at a local skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility. I have really enjoyed building an outstanding rapport with the physicians and patients in the Barrington area through participating in community events.

    Third Place

    Bill Case, PT, SCS
    Age: 56
    Houston, TX

    I have been a physical therapist for over 30 years. My father, who is also a physical therapist, is 87 and still enjoys his work after 62 years. He credits his own healthy aging to staying fit and maintaining an active lifestyle.

    Consistent exercise and an active lifestyle help prevent injuries, so I practice what I preach. I talk about exercise, teach exercise, and exercise regularly at the gym to be an example to my patients, family and friends. I also enjoy running, water sports, tennis, and basketball. I also coach baseball and basketball.

    I focus my practice on seniors and fall prevention and have given talks at my local YMCA and various civic groups about injury prevention. I co-authored a book on sports physical therapy, lectured nationally and internationally, and have written articles on exercise, injury and injury prevention.

    My passion to educate seniors prompted me to produce a DVD. Keep F.I.T. that gives instructional exercises on improving strength, balance, flexibility and posture. My website, Keep Fitness in Touch, highlights the use of exercise to prevent falls and provides daily modifications useful for overall physical health.

    In September 2012, I hosted Houston's first annual Senior Falls Prevention Awareness Day that included Houston issuing its first Proclamation Day for Falls Prevention Awareness. This was followed by an events day with over 300 seniors in attendance. Helping people be more active, fit and independent is my greatest reward!

    Other Finalists

    Herschel Budlow, PT
    Age: 73
    Pikesville, MD

    Denise Denholm, PT
    Age: 52
    Evanston, IL

    Kelly King, PT, MA
    Age: 50
    Mesa, AZ

    Laura Knapp, PT, DPT, MS, OCS
    Age: 58
    Salt Lake City, UT

    Nicholas A. LaRaia, PT, DPT, NCS
    Age: 58
    Durham, NC

    Carl Mailhot, PT
    Age: 58
    Norwich, CT

    Jill Thompson, PT
    Age: 53
    Boise, ID

  • Fit After 50