Dec 03 2020

Brooks, Ryan

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Professional Goal Statement


  • Upon graduating from the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UNC-Chapel Hill, I will be attending a sports residency program at the University of Miami to advance my clinical skills, expertise, and integrate evidence into my treatment of sport patients. Once I complete residency, I hope to obtain my SCS and seek out a Fellowship in Division 1 Sports. Given my background and interest in strength and conditioning, I hope to combine these two backgrounds in a sports and orthopedics setting while blending the two disciplines. My ideal job is within a collegiate sports setting working amongst the interdisciplinary team to help athletes achieve their goals of getting back to sport and playing at optimal levels. I look forward to being a therapist that helps patients combat pain and dysfunction as well as fostering and environment that promotes competency of movement as well as long-term health.


Career Plan


  • Past Accomplishments
    • May 2015: Bachelor of Art in Exercise and Sport Science; Coaching Education minor; UNC Chapel Hill
    • August 2017: Master of Exercise Physiology; UNC Chapel Hill
      • Master’s Thesis Completed
      • Strength and Conditioning Internship: Olympic Sport and Men’s Basketball
    • August 2018: Enrollment in Class of 2021 UNC DPT program
      • Clinical Affiliation
        • Clinical 1: Outpatient Orthopedic- PRO Physical Therapy, Spindale, NC (Underserved): Jun-Aug 2019 (8 weeks)
        • Clinical 2: Neuro- UNC Home Health, Chapel Hill, NC: Mar 2020 (2 weeks)
        • Clinical 3: Acute- Atrium Hospital Cleveland County, Shelby, NC: Mar-May 2021 (9 weeks)
        • Clinical 4: Outpatient Sports- Raleigh Orthopedic Athletic Performance Center, Raleigh, NC: May-Jul 2021 (12 weeks)
      • Future Goals
        • Less Than 1 Year
          • Graduate from UNC DPT program July 2021.
          • Pass NPTE July 2021.
        • 1-3 Years
          • Complete sports residency at the University of Miami.
          • Obtain my Sports Certified Specialist certification.
          • Pursue a sports related fellowship (Division 1 or Upper Extremity)
          • Obtain employment within the collegiate sports setting as a Physical Therapist.
        • 3-10 Years
          • Obtain my Orthopedic Certified Specialist certification
          • Become a certified clinical instructor
          • Become a Head Sports Physical Therapist or Director of Rehab Performance at the collegiate level.
        • 10+ Years
          • Eventually transition into some type of teaching role within sports physical therapy (University, Continuing Education, Residency, etc.).




  • Strengths
    • Extensive background in Strength and Conditioning
    • Master’s in Exercise Physiology
    • Organization and time management skills
    • Motivated to read literature/books related to exercise and physical therapy
    • Always open to learning something new and open to new ideas/perspectives
    • Personable and genuinely enjoys educating patients on their condition as well as movement competency


  • Opportunities for Growth
    • Achieve a better work-life balance
    • Have more of a social media presence to network with other sports physical therapists
    • Shadow other sports physical therapists, athletic trainers, and strength coaches to have a better understanding of sports PT
    • Master the basics before studying fringe ideas in the field
    • Create and optimize a system for learning post-graduation
    • Enhance confidence in clinical reasoning and differential diagnosis through mentorship opportunities




  • Graduate from the DPT program at UNC.
  • Pass the NPTE and become a licensed physical therapist in both NC and FL.
  • Complete a sports residency at the University of Miami.
  • Obtain my SCS certification post-residency.
  • Become employed as a physical therapist within the collegiate sports setting.


Specific Strategies



  • Create a consistent study schedule and continue studying for the NPTE.
  • Use my last clinical rotation to sharpen my orthopedic and sport skills and dive into sports/orthopedic literature related to the patients I see.
  • Continue literature review of topics that are intrinsically motivating and improve my knowledge to better serve my patients.
  • Seek the advice and mentorship of UNC faculty in proceeding to residency programs post-graduation.
  • Continue being a member of professional organizations (APTA and NSCA) to further my knowledge and clinical skills.
  • Continue being a member of special interest groups within the sports and orthopedics section to stay up to date on relevant topics in my area of interests.
  • Continue seeking out and attending continuing education opportunities that interest me and can help me become a more proficient clinician.


  • Fall 2020 Electives:
    • PHYT 875 (3 credits) Advanced Orthopedics Assessment and Intervention
      • Final paper: Predictive Factors Associated w/ Bone-Patellar Tendon-Bone Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction.
    • PHYT 870 (1 credit) Integrated Clinical Experience:
      • Orthopedic experience under the guidance of Dr. Kristin Somerville.
    • Spring Electives:
      • PHYT 738 (1 credit) Sports Medicine Elective
        • Presentation to class related to patellar tendinopathy management.
      • PHYT 800 (1 credit) TA Scholar Program:
        • Presentation to MSK 1 class related to the shoulder and rotator cuff tear in orthopedic populations.


Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • The Most Sacred Right- Frederick Douglass
    • This podcast on NPR discussed a major question posed by Douglass concerning the right to vote for Black individuals and if our democracy is set up in favor of all. It discusses Douglass’ life and the changes that occurred throughout his life (i.e. suffrage, Jim Crow, etc.) and the many barriers placed in the way of Black individuals regard to voting. In listening to this podcast, it really reinforced the idea that many of inequalities that existed in our past are still evident in life today. Personal experience also affirms this idea. A particularly interesting point discussed near the end of the podcast includes the court case of Shelby County vs Holder resulting in parts of the Voting Act being deemed unconstitutional due to racism not being as prevalent as it were in our past. The fact is that this racism has just changed to more subtle forms such as voting/polling rule alterations to make the process of voting more difficult for certain groups of people. A quote within the podcast the echoes this idea is “Though the colored man is no longer subject to be bought and sold, he is still surrounded by an adverse sentiment which fetters all his movements.” While the topics discussed in this podcast are not directly related to physical therapy, the events of the world seem to always creep into conversation within the clinic and thus important lessons can be learned. Especially over the last year, being aware of these changes and encroachments upon Black rights in this country is important. Given all that has happened, it is understandable that Black patients may feel exhausted, frustrated, angry, etc. It is important to be aware that patients may have preconceived notions that someone in power (such as a physical therapist) may be trying to mislead them or treat them unfairly as the system of this country has done so to them, their parents, and their grandparents. With this in mind, it is important to be understanding and try to empathize during these difficult times; doing so can help build rapport and show patients that you are genuinely concerned for their entire person, not just their immediate, visible injury. Another lessons from this podcast which can be applied to my career are to be aware of potential distrust people of color may have with systems that have historically treated them poorly and try to build a relationship that indicates I empathize with them and support them. Finally, much like voting and equal representation is our goal as a society, equal treatment within healthcare should also be a goal. As therapists, we have a duty to treat each patient regardless of skin color or any other characteristic with equal effort and quality.
  • APTA Live: DEI Discussions Race and Racism
    • This discussion talked about all thing’s diversity, equity, and inclusion within the field of physical therapy and within the APTA. Interestingly, only approximately 1% of the therapists poled in a 2020 Workforce survey were Black. Leadership within the APTA, students, and volunteers are dismal. These numbers don’t match at all compared to the types of patients and diversity of people we treat within our profession. Additionally, these numbers haven’t changed much since the year 2000, which was disappointing to see. Discussion also included systemic racism’s effect on pedagogy, admission processes, payment processes, referral, and more. Without inward introspection related to these processes we can never eliminate these inherent biases and dismantle these systems in our field. Lessons learned from this discussion include the importance of getting involved within the APTA and other physical therapy organizations when possible. The only way to bring about change and increase the proportion of Black individuals within the field is to get involved and start being the source of change. I recognize, as someone who identifies as Black, that I can be a source of inspiration for those generations that come after me. By being this source of inspiration, I can help guide and mentor the next generation of therapists, especially those of color. I can also relate to and build rapport with those patients of color that look similar to myself. Listening to this discussion was an insightful experience that illustrates the importance of seeking out other clinicians that look like me within the field. When bad things occur in the world such as Black individuals being murdered, blatant demonstrations of racism, and systems being constructed to disenfranchise, it is important to have others to discuss these topics with and lean on for support. Creating community with these clinicians can also help with regards to outreach for getting more Black individuals interested in our field so that we as a profession are more representative of our patients.


Example Products


  1. The following is a link to my capstone project related to Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction and Return to Sport-
  2. The following is a link to a presentation on the role of plyometrics in rehabilitation-


Reflective Statement


During my time in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UNC, I have seen myself grow tremendously from day one to the end of my education. I had obtained a fair amount of knowledge regarding exercise given my previous experience with strength and conditioning; however, the Doctorate program has taught me how to be diagnostic and methodical in the process of assessing patients as well. Physical therapy consists of so much more than just exercising such as educating patients, instilling efficacy in movement, and helping create long term change in health and wellness. Early in my education I focused mostly on the exercises that would help the patient. Now, being at the end of my education, I am able to focus on the other subtle nuances that are important to place patients in positions of success as well as exercises. This program has given me so many different tools to utilize with patients whether that is manual therapy skills for a patient in pain, the ability to determine if patients are appropriate for therapy, or how to always test, treat, and then retest within the practice setting to determine if my interventions are having an effect. I have also greatly improved my ability to critical think and to be flexible. I consider myself rigid in some regards, however during this process I have gained a respect and tolerance for the ambiguity that surrounds many aspects of physical therapy.


I have been able to foster my love for sports throughout this program as well through sport clinical affiliations, selecting sports related topics in my course to create projects/presentations, and in creating a journal club to discuss these matters with peers. This passion has allowed me the opportunity to continue to pursue this love for sports in a residency after graduation at the University of Miami. Moving forward, I am extremely excited to begin working with patients as a solo clinician and really challenging my current thought processes. I hope to end up in collegiate sports ultimately and continue helping athletes to reach their goals of returning to sport and being successful. I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences UNC has afforded me in helping me get to this point.




3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Brooks, Ryan”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 01 Jun 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Ryan: It is so nice to see more about your journey while here at UNC DPT Program. You have done a lot! I am very excited for you and your future. You will do great things! Good luck! Lisa


  2.   McMikeon 03 Jun 2021 at 8:31 am

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with you the past several years. Our numerous communications on the deeper thoughts of physical therapy, rehabilitation, career planning, and more have been a joy for me. Thank you for inviting me into these conversations and allowing me to come alongside you during your journey. Looks like you have an excellent plan, I can’t wait to watch you live and thrive through this plan. Congrats!!!


  3.   Mike Lewekon 10 Jun 2021 at 11:47 am

    It has been an absolute pleasure to have you in this program. You are well on your way to doing great things. Miami is lucky to have you attending their residency! Keep asking questions.


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