Rusty Nelson, DPT

Contact Info

Academic Background 

Studied Athletic Training at Concord University, Graduated with a 3.5 GPA in fall of 2007 with a BS in AT, Minor in Biology.  Spent one semester as a Graduate Assistant in Athletic Training (this was due to having an assistant leave mid term and me filling in prior to leaving for PT school). DPT was earned at West Virginia University, graduated in 2011.  While in school I was part of a research team for the 3 years which produced literature which was published: Variable Associated with Level of Disability in Working Individuals with Nonacute Low Back Pain: A Cross-sectional Investigation. Journal of Orthopedic & Sport Physical Therapy, Vol. 43:97-104 (Volume Publication date: February 2013. D. Scott Davis PT, EdD, OCS, Corrie A. Mancinelli PT, PhD, John J Petronis PT, MS, Calvin Bensenhaver DPT, Travis McClintic DPT, George R. Nelson DPT. 

Athletic & Training Background

I played baseball, football and basketball through junior high.  From then I played basketball and football through high school.  3 year letterman in each sport.  Member of basketball state championship team in 2002.  After high school played many rec/intramural sports as well as summer basketball leagues and coached AAU and summer league high school basketball for 8 years.  Currently I am a mix between a crossfit athlete and a weightlifter, I compete a few times a year at local/gym competitions in either.

Current Role Working With Athletes

I am a USAW Level 1 sports performance coach.   We are in a rural area so in my clinic we see a very diverse patient case load.  As for athletics I see a wide variety between young teenage athletes with variable orthopedic injuries to middle aged recreational athletes including crossfitters, weightlifters and endurance athletes (runners/5k to sprint triathletes).  The athletic population in my clinic makes up about 15% of my total case load.

Not sure how it applies to clinic, but as the weightlifting coach and DPT at my gym (Crossfit Esprit) I am often times involved at our gym with regards to scaling of workouts with injuries as well as general progressions.  I also work with our athletes on recovery strategies as well as in competition strategies/coaching (crossfit competitions).  We have a coach at our gym who is the high school baseball coach and oversees the S&C at our gym for the team, I do some general screens for the athletes upon starting and instruct the coach on players needs/weaknesses and progression towards correction as well as assist as needed with coaching/programing (coaching and programming is limited in this capacity to an as needed basis approximately coaching one class every 6-8 weeks)  I also do some 1:1 coaching/programing/training with a couple of athletes, 1 is a 30 something former D1 football player who trains primarily for Spartan race type events, the other is a 16 year old high school basketball player.

 I am projected to begin working as a remote coach doing monthly clinics at a nearby gym, Death By Crossfit, as a weightlifting instructor.  This is scheduled to start on 8/8 doing one Saturday per month as well as having a group page on facebook to have open dialogue with the athletes and video posts for feedback.

  Professional Philosophies

My approach to treatment is most definitely evidenced based.  I most often do a full movement screen with all patients and use a biomechanical approach.  I believe that not only is efficient movement the best for sport performance but is also the best for injury prevention, this is where I feel the lines are very blurred between rehab/sports performance.  For my patients and my athletes, I focus on exercise based treatments with hands on manual therapy as adjunct treatment.  Muscle/movement balance is important in my practice both right to left and anterior/posterior.  Functional lifts are a staple in my clinic, examples include: LBP patients all are taught to brace their core (this is taught in developmental patterns ie supine, prone, quadraped, kneeling, tall kneeling etc), hip hinge and learn to deadlift.  Shoulder patients are taught how to press both horizontally and vertically as well as to pull in both planes.

I guess to sum it up, I do isolated/single joint/single plane movements as well as gravity reduced/core activation exercises only as needed and try to quickly progress (only as quick as the patient learns) to more complex multi-joint, multi-plane movements that involve some sort of core control component.