Drew Morcos DPT ’07
Los Angeles Lakers
Last year, Drew Morcos DPT ’07 took what many consider a dream job, serving as the physical therapist for the Los Angeles Lakers. The USC grad, who completed an orthopedic residency and a sports fellowship at Kaiser Permanente — and served as the director of rehabilitation for USC Athletics — took a moment between patients at his successful cash-based practice to answer our questions.
How did it come to pass that you got started with the Lakers?
My name got tossed around within the inner circle of the Lakers medical staff. They were looking for a new physical therapist, and a few of my colleagues suggested me for the position, knowing I had worked with USC Athletics for five years and run a successful physical therapy practice where we had a lot of great outcomes for injured professional athletes.
How did your education at USC prepare you for this role?
It was because of my degree from USC that I was able to eventually become the director of rehabilitation for USC Athletics, who wanted to keep it within the Trojan Family when they recruited for that position. Throughout my education, I had so many USC faculty members, who served as resources during my time developing my craft.
How often do you work with the Lakers?
I signed on to work home games and home practices only. Initially it was a full-time position, but that didn’t work for me because of my private practice. I will typically work with players before a game or practice, stay and watch, and then if any further injuries occur, work with players afterward.
What do you do professionally outside your work with the Lakers?
I began my own private practice called MOTUS Specialists. We mainly see active clients — either high school or professional athletes or the mom who runs on the weekend, the CEO who likes to work out. We started with a location in Santa Ana and today have three locations across Orange County. We’d like to eventually move into Los Angeles County as well.
What advice would you give to current students to land such a cool role as you now occupy?
You just have to grind. A lot of young physical therapists think that once they graduate, they’ll just open their own practice and go from there, but it doesn’t work like that. I am 15 years out, and I am still taking con-ed classes and learning every day. My main advice would be to realize it takes time, but you can get there. I also think residencies and fellowships are great opportunities to further hone your clinical skills and reasoning to give you a unique set of tools in your toolbox to differentiate yourself from others.