061917_advance rehab

Gabe Morgan stands in the treatment room of Advance Rehabilitation, 4204 Coral Park Drive in Brunswick. Morgan became interested in physical therapy after playing basketball for many years.

Like many children, Gabe Morgan had dreams of making it big as a professional athlete. The Camden County native always excelled on the court, becoming a local basketball star in his youth.

But as he got older, he started to become more realistic about his future.

“I went to Camden High School and I always was a big basketball fan. Going through high school it seemed like basketball would be the next thing,” he said. “Growing up, I never wanted to be a musician or an artist, I just wanted to go into sports. But as I got older, I realized that the chance of me playing professional basketball was pretty slim.”

That realization led him to look at other options. But soon, Morgan’s love of sports provided an avenue.

“I really liked the conditioning aspect of sports. I started thinking about physical therapy. I had actually had therapy after a hip injury,” he said.

The treatment he received made such an impact that he decided to pursue it on the college level. Morgan attended the College of Coastal Georgia’s Camden campus, taking all of the prerequisite courses to put him on the physical therapy path. That is when one professor mentioned an opportunity to connect these courses to the actual career.

“I was taking chemistry and biology ... all of those courses and I wasn’t really sure how it all applied to what I was actually wanting to do. Then during a lecture one of the teachers said that there was an opening for a physical therapy aid at a PT clinic,” Morgan recalled. “He said whoever was interested should see him after class. I was the first one who came up to talk to him about it.”

The teacher connected Morgan with a physical therapy center in Kingsland. He took to the work naturally. In fact, he focused all of his efforts on learning the physical therapy practice first hand. Morgan even cut down on his class load in order to dedicate himself fully to the experience.

“It was really great being in that atmosphere and being able to see how it all connected,” he said.

Morgan spent five years learning how to best care for patients. He also found time to continue his education, transferring on to Armstrong State University to complete his undergraduate degree. He also spent time obtaining a certification in strength and conditional training.

“I got a personal training certification, worked as a PT aid and then got accepted Armstrong’s physical therapy program in May 2013 then I gradated in May 2016,” he said.

Since then, Morgan has continued to expand his practice and his education. One of the most rewarding experiences was heading to Boston with professional sports trainers as well as working at a military program.

“I spent a rotation, from January to March 2016, with a former athletic trainer for the Boston Red Sox. It was more on the strength and conditioning side but it also incorporated physical therapy,” he said.

“I also did an internship with the 160th Airborne at Hunter Army Airfield. We worked to get the guys out and ready to deploy. That was a wonderful experience.”

Both solidified that this was indeed the right profession for Morgan.

His experiences helped deepen his personal passion as well as broaden the scope of his knowledge.

“It was amazing I definitely loved that environment ... everyone is super passionate about what they do,” Morgan said.

In January of this year, he connected to a clinic that shared that passion and commitment to excellence — Advance Rehabilitation’s Brunswick location. There, Morgan along with the rest of the team finds fulfillment in helping all patients overcome pain and get back to the things they love.

“I definitely enjoy working at Advance Rehabilitation. It is definitely like a family where you feel free to create your own system of treatment. You don’t have to conform to a specific system. That’s great for me because I’ve been around a lot of different systems and I can use my experience so I can blend them together to create something ideal for patients,” he said.

Regardless of age or level of activity, Morgan can draw on his expansive history to help develop something entirely unique. That is true for professional athletes to seniors to those recovering from surgery.

“The patients who come here just want to get better and resume their lives. It is not just about those involved in sports ... it can be anything. Those looking to get back to work pain free or even athletes trying to get back to excelling in their own sport,” Morgan said.

“It is my goal to give them the care they need to be pain free and a little better than when came in initially.”

When Morgan is not helping patients, he continues to focus on his personal health. He also manages to squeeze in a bit of recreational time.

“I still do body building and power lifting. What I really do is a blend of different styles. So I’m in the gym a lot,” he said.

“I also love fishing, music ... just about every genre and pop culture.”