Think about tucking in a little earlier than usual on New Year's Eve — and possibly holding back a bottle of champagne — because this time around, you'll also want to celebrate on New Year's Day: That's when the first-ever float honoring the power of physical therapy makes its way through the Tournament of Roses Parade.
The brainchild of the California Physical Therapy Association and partially funded by APTA, the float is in the final stages of preparation for its debut in the 133rd Rose Parade, which will be televised on ABC, NBC, the Hallmark Channel, RFD-TV, and Univision beginning at 8 a.m. PT.
The theme of the parade, "Dream. Believe. Achieve," couldn't be more fitting for the physical therapy float, which celebrates the diversity of individuals served by PTs and PTAs, the diversity of the profession, and the 100-year history of APTA. The float itself features three figures reveling in movement—a competitive athlete with a prosthesis, a jogger who's an older adult enjoying her moment in the sun, and a young person in a wheelchair, joyfully doing a wheelie. As required by the event, the float is covered in natural materials including statice, cranberry seed, ground coconut, and lentils.
CPTA President Richard Katz, PT, DPT, MA, says the float seizes on an important moment for the profession to remind the world of physical therapy's transformative power.
"The California Physical Therapy Association's more than 9,000 members are excited to celebrate APTA's centennial with a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade," he said. "Our doctoring profession promotes a healthy lifestyle and helps those impacted by injury and disease or those seeking to enhance wellness."
Individuals who will be riding on the float include Katz, Kelley Kubota, PT, MS, CPTA vice president; Chris Powers, PT, PhD, FAPTA; and Marilyn Washington, PT, both past CPTA presidents; as well as incoming APTA President Roger Herr, PT, MPA.
But Kubota says the real stars are the physical therapy patients who will be greeting the crowds. They include Willie "Three" Young III, a child hit by a stray bullet and paralyzed from the chest down at age six; Ray Cervantes, who sustained a spinal cord injury as a teenager due to gun violence; and Yajaira "Yaya" Duran, an individual who has amputations of both feet and hands and walks with the aid of prostheses.