Dr. Kenas is the founder of The Charlotte Athlete LLC, a company founded with a mission to help athletes quickly recover from injury so they continue to be active in their sport – through physical therapy, sports performance, and nutritional guidance. He is a residency and fellowship trained physical therapist also working for Carolinas Healthcare System. He is a Board-Certified Specialist in Orthopedics and Sports, FAAOMPT, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He obtained his FAAOMPT credentials through the Institute for Athlete Regeneration (IAR), an Orthopedic and Sports Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship, and now serves as program faculty. Andrew is very passionate in serving the active population, everyone from high-end athletes to the weekend warrior, with a particular focus on overhead athletes and the CrossFit community.
What inspired you to pursue fellowship training?
As an aspiring new grad, I knew that both outpatient orthopedics and outpatient sports were the most popular fields in physical therapy, and the most competitive. I didn’t want to be a middle of the pack therapist. I didn’t want to get lost in the crowd. I wanted to stand out. I wanted to treat the type of patients I’m interested in treating, and be really good at it. I saw fellowship training as an opportunity to push me to the front of the pack. It was an opportunity to push myself, push my limits, and learn advanced skills I otherwise wouldn’t be capable of. A major inspiration for me were my mentors. They possessed an incredible ability to get patients better, FAST. After I got a taste of what they could do, and all the possibilities that were out there, I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to accelerate my career.
What fellowship program did you attend and why?
I chose to attend the Institute for Athlete Regeneration (IAR) because it was the perfect blend of orthopedics AND sports within a manual therapy fellowship. It was simply more comprehensive overall, in a sense that it encompassed the entire orthopedic fellowship curriculum, but also took it a step further and applied it to the athletic and sport populations. No other program could offer this unique combination. I was also very passionate about manual therapy and the influence it had on patient outcomes, so a manual therapy fellowship was a must. After going through physical therapy school and completing a residency, I knew how important your instructors and mentors can be in your development. Having mentors that were knowledgeable, passionate, driven, but also relatable and fun played a big role. I knew the exceptional staff at IAR could fulfill those attributes – that they were the perfect fit to help me attain my goals, so for me it was an easy decision. This fellowship also had a strong reputation in developing advanced manual skills as they applied to the athletic population. I wanted to be proficient in this sub-specialty, and this fellowship helped me achieve those goals.
What did your fellowship program entail (as far as specific training, etc.)?
A great feature of this fellowship is part-time model that it employs. This allows you to continue working as a full-time employee in your current position, while completing the coursework over selected weekends. A typical weekend course consisted of multiple components: Lecture (which was more interactive style), lab (to learn and practice manual skills and exercise prescription), case studies (where we bring in a live athlete and treat him on the spot), and small group projects and presentations. As I mentioned, this program placed a strong focus on application to the athletic population. It also placed a strong emphasis on clinical reasoning, and combined a unique approach of Shirley Sahrmann’s movement system impairments with advanced manual therapy techniques, geared towards both the general population and the athlete. Manual therapy in the sports arena is rare, and this program successfully brings the two together.
Are you trained in any specific areas of manual therapy (e.g., Maitland, McKenzie, etc.)? If so, why did you choose that area?
One of the great things about IAR, is its eclectic approach to manual therapy. I have developed a very unique manual therapy skillset, developed from multiple sources, that includes basic joint mobilizations and manipulations, muscle energy techniques, advanced soft tissue mobilizations, mobilizations with movement, and neuromobilizations to name a few. Every patient is unique with unique characteristics. Having multiple tools in the tool box allows me to select which manual therapy intervention is most appropriate for each situation.
What advice would you give to new grads aspiring to pursue residency/fellowship training?
My growth has been exponential in clinical reasoning, expertise in movement analysis, and ability to perform advanced manual therapy interventions. Fellowship training can open more doors then you could possibly imagine, and set you apart from your peers. Not only will it accelerate your skills as a clinician, but also allow you to explore paths in your career that may not have otherwise been obtainable. I highly recommend any new grad to consider residency/ fellowship training, and if you are interested in sports, there’s not a program out there that beats what IAR has to offer.