After stints as a physical therapist at West Jefferson Medical Center and as the director of physical therapy at Deep South Orthopedic and at the Bone and Joint Clinic, Bates decided to start his own practice. As the co-owner of Star Physical Therapy, he enjoys getting to focus more on patients, he says.
And when he is not helping his patients, Bates enjoys golfing, skiing, cycling and jogging.
Q: What attracted you to a career in physical therapy?
A: I had an unfortunate injury to my shoulder playing high-school football which ended any dreams of playing in college. My initial rehab was unconventional and time-consuming while trying to balance my studies as a freshman in college. I found myself doing a lot on my own in between classes to recover. When I finally found time to work with a therapist my recovery was amazing. I knew this was something I had to pursue and I decided to take the necessary coursework to become a physical therapist.
Q: Help our readers understand some of the conditions or situations they might face that would require the services of a physical therapist.
A. I see a lot of orthopedic cases involving muscles, joints and bones; but most people don’t know we have a lot of training in neurological problems. A typical day for me could start with an 18-year-old recovering from an ACL surgery and end with an 89-year-old trying to learn how to walk again without falling.
Q: You have a number of professional development training and certifications? How important is to stay current on latest practices in the PT field?
A: My field is constantly evolving with different professional standards and insurance mandates. It’s important for us to show validity in what we do to meet the needs of patients and insurance agencies. It’s also important we make sure all our therapist are trained in the latest techniques to keep our competitive edge.
Q: You spent some time as a physical therapist employed by a number of healthcare institutions and other organizations in the metro area. Now, you are the co-owner of Star Physical Therapy. What prompted your decision to open your own business? And how is being an independent physical therapist different than, say, working for a hospital?
A: I love New Orleans, its culture, the people and everything that makes it unique. After working in this industry, I noticed there were many areas in the city that needed quality, professional care and I knew I could deliver. I did work in many hospitals; and I am thankful for everything I learned. However, the biggest difference from what I do now compared to hospital work is the ability to make decisions without all the corporate scrutiny. This allows me to focus on what really matters, the patient.
Q: Your interests—golfing, skiing, hiking and jogging. Recreation and exercise are important to you. And of course staying physically fit is important for us all. How do you find time to make it all fit into your life? And do you have any advice for the rest of us slackers?
A: It is tough to juggle work, family and exercise but the best advice I could give would be to find an activity you really like and bring a friend to help motivate you. You are less likely to slack if you know someone else is depending on you to show up.
Q: What’s the most adventurous thing you have done? Or is there anything—some adventure—you want to accomplish, but haven’t scratched off your list yet?
A: Without a doubt it would have to be back country skiing in Lake Tahoe with my family many years ago. I’ve never been more afraid of anything else in my life and I didn’t think I would make it down the mountain. With a terrain of trees and rock beds, you would think we would get a few injuries; but we all made it down safely and I am glad that adventure has been checked off my bucket list.
Q: Who are your role models/inspirations? And why?
A: My mother because of all the sacrifices she made for her children while we were growing up and most importantly my wife because of her unconditional love, guidance, support and patience she has given me in all my endeavors over the years.
Q: Okay, do you have any guilty pleasures? Something you like to indulge in every now and then that doesn’t involve exercise, fitness or good nutrition? You can tell us.
A: Anyone who knows me knows I love to eat steak with an abundance of A1 sauce on top. I don’t care if it’s a steak from the best chef in New Orleans, it’s not perfect until you add the A1.