Physical therapist Andy Harrah has 40 years of experience and currently practices at Girard Orthopaedic Surgeons Medical Group Inc. in San Diego, California. He’s spent most of his career in orthopedics and sports medicine. Andy always strives to be at the scientific forefront and avoids settling into patterns that don’t get results. It’s this desire to stay current on best practices that introduced him to Gray Institute®.

Andy first met Dr. Gary Gray and the rest of the Gray Institute team in 1984 at their “When the Foot Hits the Ground, Everything Changes” seminar in San Diego. (An updated version of that course is now available as Foot / Ankle Specialization.)

As Andy reflects, his approach to treating patients was a little different in 1984. “Those were the days when Cybex was king. We did PNF on every patient, and surgeons put ACL reconstructions in casts for six weeks. So other than getting a BAPS board and learning how to cast for orthotics, it did not change my practice philosophy.”

However, Andy didn’t entirely lose sight of Gray Institute.

applied functional science. AFS

One Conversation About Function Changes Andy’s Approach

Years later, Andy was having a conversation with a coworker, Mike Van Gilder, about a knee patient’s treatment. The conversation went something like this:

Mike: “What is the function of the quads?”

Andy: “To extend the knee.”

Mike: “Are you sure? What about the calf muscles?”

Andy: “To plantarflex the ankle.”

“I was getting annoyed because I knew he was baiting me,” Andy says, describing the dynamic as the conversation continued.

Mike: “Do they do that when you walk?”

After that last question, Andy said, it hit him “like a ton of bricks. The quad and calf muscles act like decelerators. Suddenly, everything clicked.

“It was an awakening. Mike encouraged me to attend a Chain Reaction® course. I got more out of that weekend than any other course I had ever taken to that point. It changed everything.”

After Chain Reaction, Andy Couldn’t Get Enough of Gray Institute

After Chain Reaction, Andy started reading and watching Gray Institute content and incorporating it into his practice. Even his coworkers would comment that his patients were recovering more quickly than they anticipated.

“I thought I had a pretty good knowledge base about Applied Functional Science® at that time, but I was naïve,” Andy recalls. “I did not take any more classes until 2015 when Gray Institute introduced 3DMAPS®. Mike told me about the course being taught at his clinic, and I attended. After taking 3DMAPS, I had a documentable assessment that made sense. It was global and local and not made up of specific tasks that do not translate into function.”

Andy began using AFS principles every day. He was getting great results, and his patients were successful. A few years later, when he needed CEUs, he enrolled in CAFS (Certification in Applied Functional Science).

“Again, I realized that I had been missing out, and there were still many things I did not know or understand. After CAFS, my toolbox doubled, at least,” Andy says of his experience. “My total knee patients are walking normally in half the time. My rotator cuff repair patients increase their active motion in all planes ahead of schedule. My low back pain patients are getting back to work sooner.”

applied functional science. AFS

Andy’s Advice: “Don’t Slow-Play Applied Functional Science”

Today, Andy uses the AFS principles he learned in CAFS and 3DMAPS to help patients heal every day. He credits Gray Institute and Applied Functional Science with helping him stay sharp and maintain a functional approach to healing.

“If I have a message, as a 65-year-old physical therapist, who has been blessed to have helped countless patients, clients, and athletes recover and enhance their function and talent for over 40 years, it is this: please do not do what I did and slow-play AFS.”

He continues, “If you are reading this, I know that you want the best for those you serve. Dive in, do not wait, go for it and get it done! You will have no regrets, I promise you.”

RELATED: Craig and Tim’s Story: Physical Therapists Solve Complex Problems With AFS

Are You Ready to Transform Your Career? Don’t Wait to Enroll at Gray Institute

At Gray Institute, we’re proud to support passionate professionals like Andy, and like you, with the tools you need to provide world-class care. If you’re ready to help your patients and clients move better and heal faster or have a deep desire to truly understand how the human body truly moves, don’t wait to enroll in one of our core courses 3DMAPS and CAFS.

Have questions about how we can help you achieve your goals or learn more about what you’ll get in each of these courses? Let’s talk! We love speaking with driven professionals about their needs; simply fill out this simple online contact form to get started.

We look forward to hearing from you!