Three physical therapists graduate doctoral program
(L to R) Lt. Col. Michael Johnson, U.S. Army-Baylor University program director, stands with Maj. Michael P. Garrison, Capt. Scott C. Dembowski and Capt. Nathan P. Shepard during the 2013 U.S. Army-Baylor University Doctoral Sports Physical Therapy graduation Dec.4 at the United States Military Academy's Haig Room in the Jefferson Library.

WEST POINT, N.Y. (Dec. 4, 2013) - Keller Army Community Hospital graduated three physical therapists from the U.S. Army-Baylor University Sports Physical Therapy Doctoral Program during a Dec. 4 ceremony at the United States Military Academy's Haig Room in the Jefferson Library.

Army Maj. Michael P. Garrison and Capt. Scott C. Dembowski and Air Force Capt. Nathan P. Shepard are the 2013 graduates of the U.S. Army-Baylor University Doctoral program in Sports Physical Therapy.

"You aren't remembered by what you did in the program. It's what you do once you leave. Make sure you continue to 'elevate your game'," said Maj. Richard Westrick, program assistant professor.

The U.S. Army-Baylor University Doctoral Residency in Sports Physical Therapy is one of the oldest and most recognized programs in the nation and is the only post-professional sports medicine program for military physical therapists.

It is a joint-service doctoral (D.Sc.) and American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) credentialed sports residency program for active duty physical therapists in the Army, Air Force, and Navy.

"This is the only program in the military where you are constantly surrounded by experts that mentor and challenge you to become a better clinician. That mentorship has undoubtedly made me a better physical therapist," said Garrison.

Garrison, Dembowski and Shepard spent 18-months in rigorous clinical rotations to include advanced sports medicine focused training designed to prepare experienced physical therapists to be clinical experts for neuromusculoskeletal conditions from the point-of-injury, through evidence-based therapeutic intervention, and return to military duty.

In addition, the residents completed sports-specific special core curriculum topics; such as athletic injuries, athletic taping, on-the-field emergency care, dermatology, and performance enhancement.

Lt. Col. Johnson, program director, gave the graduates several pieces of advice during the ceremony.

"Our program is here to translate what happens on the athletic field to help get our Soldiers back on the battlefield," he said. "Know you are expected to be subject matter experts in the sports physical therapy world and people are looking to you for guidance. Lead the way!"

The graduates had this to say about their experiences in the program:

"Being able to learn from a variety of experts in different fields was my best experience in the program. Classes provided by orthopedic surgeons, radiologists, the USMA Math and Physical Education Department staff and hands-on experience with athletic trainers were invaluable," Garrison said. "In addition, the faculties associated with the residency are also top-notch. There is no other sports PT residency that can compete with the level of instructors available at West Point."

Capt. Scott Dembowski said time management is key.

"There is always a project to be done, sports to cover and clinic to see," he said. Some days you will have a full sick-call then schedule, a presentation to be given that day or and then sports to cover in the evening. Managing that time with ensuring that family life will not suffer is important."

The skills I have learned here will serve the troops in the field, said Shepard.

For more information on the program, please visit or contact Lt. Col. Michael Johnson at

Page last updated Mon December 9th, 2013 at 09:26