The devices will be used to help students keep their own bodies in good shape.
BY KATHARINE GAMMON
The USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy recently received a donation from Therabody, Inc. of 1,000 Theragun Elites for all of its students during their studies at USC. It’s a unique opportunity to put a healing tool in the hands of students and was born out of the alignment of the goals of the company and the school.
Associate Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy Jonathan Sum ’01, DPT ’05 first connected with Therabody’s founder Jason Wersland years ago. One day, after a meeting, the two were talking and everything just seemed to click. “When you have great relationships with people, you can’t figure out where or why — but we just aligned in terms of visions and missions,” Sum says.
“We had an opportunity to donate some products, so I immediately thought of USC,” says Wersland, founder and chief wellness officer of Therabody. Getting Theraguns into the hands of physical therapy students can also help substantiate the company’s mission, which is to provide individuals with effective natural solutions to take charge of their daily wellness. “When someone in your circle says it saved their career, that gives validation in such a cool way,” he says. “Getting it into the hands of medical professionals it just makes such a difference.”
Like other students, doctor of physical therapy students suffer from issues in their bodies due to long hours spent hunched over electronic devices or spent treating patients.
“A lot of our students were looking for something like this for themselves, just to get them through their studies,” Sum says. “So it just wound up being an opportunity to reconnect to allow Jason to make an impact beyond just selling devices, but making an impact on us as a school.”
The devices will be used to make an impact on the bigger picture of rehab sciences and recovery. Sum says part of what he wants to do is show how to further utilize the devices with different patient populations, including those who work in our division and to the university on a larger scale. “Being productive at work is important,” Sum says. “If we can be more productive because we feel better physically, then we can be better contributors to our division and school.”
The philosophy of the company and our program are similar, which can lead to a very fruitful relationship both ways.
Wersland founded Therabody after a debilitating motorcycle accident in 2007 made him seek out help for his pain. He had a familiarity with power tools from a family farm in Utah, and recognized that he could adapt a vibrating saw to create a massager. Doing so, he says, would trick his nervous system into blocking pain signals and increase blood flow to muscles. The company has now grown and is on its fourth generation of the percussive therapy devices.
Sum hopes this is the first of many deeper collaborations with Therabody and other companies that have a vested interest in societal health and population well-being.
“That’s one reason this donation is so significant: we are like-minded and have similar goals about how we can impact population health in a tangible way,” he says. “The philosophy of the company and our program are similar, which can lead to a very fruitful relationship both ways.”