Robert Manske says he can’t describe the feeling when he received the Turner A. Blackburn Hall of Fame/Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy.
“I don’t feel deserving,” says Manske, lead physical therapist at Ascension Via Christi Physical Therapy Center on Shannon Woods. “The past winners are truly incredible and among the elite in my profession.”
So he feels humbled to be among them all the while appreciative of the validation of his life’s work.
The award is given to physical therapists who demonstrate frequent and sustained contributions to the specialty of sports physical therapy through leadership, influence, and achievements for 25-plus years.
Manske joined Ascension Via Christi in 1992 while working on his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at Wichita State University. He later earned his master’s degree in Physical Therapy at WSU, where he now serves as a professor in the doctoral program.
“Having the opportunity to teach students who go on to impact their patients with what I taught them touches more lives than only working one-on-one with patients,” says the Wichita native.
“Staying where I grew up and graduated has helped me make connections everywhere, which showed me that collaboration with other doctors, physical therapists, educators, students and patients is the key to success.”
Manske enjoys undertaking research projects, which affords him the opportunity to work with teaching physicians like Andrew Porter, DO, who leads Ascension Via Christi’s Sports Medicine Fellowship program, and doctors Brennan Lucas, MD, and Daniel Prohaska, MD, of Advanced Orthopedic Associates. “It’s so exciting to work with awesomely passionate doctors and be finding new information that nobody has had answers to before.”
Though busy, Manske still gets to work one-on-one with injured athletes.
“When I have to travel or be out of the clinic for teaching, the other therapists are willing to lend a hand,” he says, noting his director, Kim Yearout, has been especially supportive. “It’s important that people know you appreciate what they do too because support is a valuable thing.”
"In addition to being a highly skilled sports physical therapist, Rob lives our mission, core values and essential behaviors every day," says Yearout. "Customer service and relationship building with patients, families, physicians, colleagues and community is at the forefront of what he offers. We are grateful to have him on our team."