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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The bumps and bruises of cadet life

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Jonathan SheenGraduate student Rebekah McDaniel aids chemistry senior Kristina Goldstein in diagnosing her injury. 

In March 2014, orthopedic surgeon Anthony Zissimos and his daughter Rachel Zissimos began to turn their idea for Corps of Cadets Physical Therapy Center into a reality.
The idea came to Anthony during the four years his daughter spent in the Corps before she graduated from Texas A&M in 2014. Anthony felt the Corps physical training and its associated injuries meant A&M needed a place where a cadet’s injuries could be assessed for free.
“Previously there wasn’t any sort of training room,” Anthony said. “The gimpy cadets would have to walk all the way to Beutel halfway across campus to get checked out, but most of them would just rub some dirt on it and not say anything about the injury.”
Anthony and Rachel drafted a proposal and presented it to Col. Glenn Starnes a year before construction to see if their idea was feasible.
“It was March when we initially met with Colonel Starnes to discuss the proposal, and we decided to wait to have it up and running until this fall’s [freshman orientation week],” Anthony said. “We saw our first cadets on the Thursday of FOW.”
Anthony said while start up costs for the PT center were expensive, local area hospital St. Joseph’s and the Corps of Cadets Association both played a key financial role in the center’s start up.
“There were of course start up costs, but St. Joseph’s has been incredibly generous and granted us a large sum of money, as well as most of the equipment,” Anthony said. “The Corps of Cadets Association has also been very supportive.”
Along with financial support, Anthony said he has volunteers and family members help him with physical therapy in the mornings.
“We have two athletic trainers now who are employees at St. Joseph’s and we also have a masters student who helps us out,” Anthony said. “Even my wife, daughter, and son-in-law volunteer with me some days.”
The center’s busiest time is around 6 a.m after the Corps’ physical training – the most common time for injury.
“We get flooded right after PT,” Anthony said. “We usually begin with basic first aid first, and then we assess the remainder of their treatment based on their injury.”
Anthony said he makes it a priority to keep each cadet’s commanding officer informed of the injury the cadet has sustained and what the treatment entails.
“When we see a cadet, we send a letter to the cadet’s respective commanding officer with a description of the injury and a list of what the cadet cannot do, but most importantly what they still can do,” Anthony said. “It is very important to me that the cadets are not removed from their duties and activities unless it is absolutely necessary.”
Anthony said more cadets than expected use the PT center.
“During that first week, we had 196 total visits,” Anthony said. “Since then we get an average of about 170 visits per week and it’s only the third week. The commanding officers have been huge helps in getting the word out to the cadets about this opportunity.”
Col. Glenn Starnes said the PT center has been a wonderful addition for assessment and cadet rehabilitation.
“Beutel is far — the cadets will not use it, plain and simple,” Starnes said. “With this PT center it provides an ideal location for the cadets to get back to work stronger and fixed. It’s very similar to the military in that our intent is to fix, not break.”
Anthony said he intends for the PT center to grow, primarily by adding more volunteers for busy mornings.
“We have actually already received ten volunteer applications,” Anthony said. “Once I review the applications and select them, they will go through basic protocol training so that they will be able to supervise the PT center on days I’m not around.”
Devin Deluca, general engineering sophomore, said he thinks the center is a great idea and he is surprised a center for the cadets hasn’t been established sooner.
“Cadets get injured so often and Beutel is such a hike,” Deluca said. “I’m surprised this wasn’t an idea a long time ago. It’s also really nice to have a doctor who is solely dedicated to helping out the cadets. It’s really considerate of him.”

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