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Sacramento State’s Department of Physical Therapy oversees a unique lab program which provides hands-on experience for students while offering rehabilitation treatment for area patients.

The College of Health and Human Services works with Sutter Hospital and UC Davis Medical Center to identify patients who are in need of physical therapy following spinal cord, stroke and other injuries.


(Narrator:) From the campus of Sacramento State, this is Focus.

(Physical Therapy Students:) “Chest up, lift your shoulders up, straighten your elbows.”

(Jim Finnerty, reporting:) Hands-on training is what physical therapy students at Sacramento State receive in the school’s mock clinic program. It’s a course designed to elevate their education while meeting community needs for people with limited resources.

(Michael McKeough, Sacramento State, Physical Therapy Professor:) “The patients get care that they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten, the students get invaluable experience they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.”

(Finnerty:) Upper-level students participate in the clinical portion of the two-year training, translating textbook knowledge to real world experience.

(Adam Beckinger, Physical Therapy Student:) “I think you have to identify with people as far as what they’ve been through, and you don’t learn that in a classroom. You have to learn that by just meeting people and hearing their story.”

(Yulylia Ionova, Physical Therapy Student:) “I can go out and have my hands on people and see the results. Or see trial and error, what works, what doesn’t.”

(Finnerty:) 57-year-old Jack MacDougall appreciates the service program. Shortly after losing the use of his legs in a motorcycle accident, he lost his coverage for physical therapy.

(Jack MacDougal, Physical Therapy Patient:) “This is great asset. Do you know how much this would be worth out in the private world for this type of physical therapy? It would be huge dollars.”

(Finnerty:) Fifteen patients are enrolled in the clinic. Thirty-two students, under the supervision of state-licensed physical therapists, carry out the exercises. Both students and instructors say it’s a valuable asset for the capital region.

(McKeough:) “There is no other program in Sacramento that gives free physical therapy care to patients from the community who have run out of insurance coverage.”

(Finnerty:) This is Jim Finnerty reporting.

(Narrator:) For more information on this and other news from Sacramento State, visit our website.

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