The following is adapted from a graduation address to the Ohio State University DPT program class of '21.
The famous philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “It's like déjà vu all over again." Our association is celebrating its centennial this year, which means that for the second time in our history we’re beginning a new century amid a global crisis.
You enter a new century of physical therapy in the United States like no other class before you. Over your three years of physical therapist education, almost 40% has been completed during a world health crisis. This crisis has reinforced the need for a profession committed to the process of restoration, recovery, and rehabilitation.
Today, we are being shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing disease burden with chronic conditions. We are just beginning to understand the secondary conditions associated with the virus, but it is estimated that one in three of the individuals testing positive will experience PASC, or “long COVID,” with symptomology that will require the clinical expertise and collaborative spirit of a profession that has a history of response to pandemics from the flu epidemic of 1918 to polio.
You are the next generation to answer this call as we begin our new century.
You are the professional who is poised and positioned for a time like this. You are not arriving at this time empty handed or empty headed. You possess potential, promise, and preparation to shape not just our profession but health care. As you arrive at this time, I offer you three pieces of advice:
Be curious. Embrace the gray. Steal home.