Jimmy McKay

Jimmy McKay

Jimmy McKay may not be a household name. But if you’re into physical therapy, one of the fastest-growing fields in America, and into podcasts, another fast-growing phenomenon, you will likely soon hear about McKay and about Wingate University.

The radio disc-jockey turned physical therapist who founded PT Pintcast will come to Wingate late next month. He will interview four faculty members in the University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program during a Batte Center presentation. Then, he’ll continue the conversation with students afterward in a less formal setting.

Dr. Rebecca Bliss, an assistant DPT professor, expects the event to benefit Wingate’s up-and-coming program in a variety of ways.

“One, it will highlight the program to anybody listening,” she said. “Typically, those who listen to the podcast are PTs and PT students, but it could also reach those who are looking at PT schools. It could also open doors for collaboration across the nation.”

In addition to Bliss, McKay will feature professors Stephen Morris and Diane Wrisley and assistant professor Tyler Shultz. He is likely to ask about their areas of interest, which alone will create a broad base for discussion.

Morris, whose 20-year PT career has included extensive research on exercise and cancer treatment, serves as president of the Oncology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. Wrisley, a board-certified neurological physical therapy specialist, is an expert in balance and fall prevention. Shultz, who joined the faculty last summer, has given presentations on management of patients following lumbar surgery and on low-back-pain classification systems. And Bliss, who is certified in advanced vestibular rehabilitation, is an authority on concussion management.

A woman with brown hair and glasses stands next to a man in a restaurant.

Dr. Rebecca Bliss, an assistant professor in Wingate University’s DPT program, is shown with PT Pintcast founder Jimmy McKay during a 2015 student conclave. McKay interviewed Bliss for a podcast about concussions. He will talk with her and other DPT faculty during an upcoming live podcast from Wingate.

Bliss also has the distinction of being a PT Pintcast veteran. After speaking at the 2015 National Student Conclave of the American Physical Therapy Association, Bliss was approached by McKay for a follow-up conversation about why and how physical therapists should be involved in the management of a concussion injury.

The next year she was featured again on the podcast. She gave a review of sorts of the Will Smith movie “Concussion.” “I gave the medical perspective and talked about what the research shows, rather than giving the Hollywood perspective,” Bliss explains.

She says that whatever topics come up on McKay’s show, listed on multiple websites as among the nation’s top five PT podcasts, they could lead to collaborative research opportunities as practitioners across the nation respond and connect with Wingate faculty.

Global reach

According to a podcast-tracking service, PT Pintcast gets approximately 50,000 downloads per month. Its social media accounts have more than 7,000 followers, with a daily reach of 24,000 physical therapists. The PT Pintcast website reports that the podcast has been heard in all 50 states and in 127 countries.

When listeners tune in to the episode that will be recorded at Wingate, DPT professors hope they’ll learn about the program’s commitment to student-centered education, its 43 weeks of training in four types of clinical settings and its state-of-the-art human anatomy lab. They also want a chance to share the range of community-involvement opportunities afforded students.

“Our pediatric dance class, adaptive sports, our work with Community Health Services, our oncology exercise program, our neurologic residency, our work with the health fair …” Bliss rattles off a growing list of ways that DPT students put their knowledge to work outside the classroom.

Shultz adds that the community involvement isn’t limited to students but often includes faculty-sponsored efforts.

“It’s one way we’re able to introduce students to organizations that they can get involved with before they graduate so they get contacts and experience that are valuable for their resumes,” he says.

Bliss expects that McKay will do his best to showcase Wingate’s program. She says he’ll explore specific topics with faculty while reserving time for audience questions.

“He usually encourages students to ask something they have never been able to ask before to make it interesting,” Bliss says. She sees the forum as an opportunity for anyone already involved with physical therapy to learn more and for those even mildly interested in the career to see what it’s about.

“It’s a low-stakes, friendly environment where any prospective student or anyone just interested in the career can get to know faculty and our DPT students,” Bliss adds.

Folks looking for an even more casual atmosphere to talk PT may meet with McKay in a local bar. That way the “pintcast” can live up to its tagline: “Sharing a pint of beer with the best minds in PT.”

The Batte Center program featuring McKay’s interviews with DPT faculty is set for 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 22. At 6 p.m., the conversation will continue at Southern Range in Monroe.

Feb. 28, 2018