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Massaging Quadriplegic Rugby Players

Published on June 22, 2015 by ctannehill

broadview university massage therapy program

Amanda massaging her client.

Ken Cook, Audrey Kujawa, Manuel Monterrubio, Amanda Phillips, Sarah Villarreal, and Atikhom Wattanamongkolsiri had the opportunity this month to practice their massage therapy techniques on quadriplegic rugby players.

Kerrie Jannelle, a massage therapy program chair at Broadview University-Boise, explained how this experience related to what the students were studying in the classroom. “We are learning about special populations and how to adjust for various limitations like spinal cord injuries,” she said.

One noticeable adjustment was the height of the students’ massage tables. “The students lowered the tables for their clients to get on and off,” said Kerrie. “Some of the students sat down to massage their clients. Normally, students don’t sit when giving massages, but I let them so they wouldn’t hurt their own bodies.”

Ken mentioned another variation that students had to make when they were massaging the players. “The biggest learning experience was in working with spasms activated by touch,” he said. “With the vibration, you feel the muscles and work into them.”

broadview university massage therapy program

Audrey massaging a client’s arm

For Manuel’s client, it was his first massage. “It was a new experience for my client,” he said. “In the more sensitive areas, I asked him how the pressure was and if he had any pain.”

Casey Sheehy, the players’ coach and an anatomy and physiology instructor at Broadview University, described how the massages benefited his players. “They rely on their rotator cuffs and shoulders to play so they take a lot of abuse.”

Manual told how the massage affected his client. “I think it made a big difference for him,” he said. “It cheered him up.”

Amanda also enjoyed the experience. “I loved it,” she said, “because you’re more focused on touch and making them feel good.”

Kerrie added, “Amanda wants to continue to working with team and focus on special populations in her career.”

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