Dr. Bill Gabriel
My path to becoming a physical therapist began early in school with a love of athletics and an admiration for helping professions such as medicine, psychology, and teaching. My youth was spent in Orange County. I earned 6 varsity letters at Newport Harbor Highschool, competed as a member of the U.S. Jr. National Weightlifting team, and entered college in ’91 as a pre-medicine major.
Though Psychology soon supplanted Pre-Medicine in college, I never stopped pursuing the ‘helping professions’ career path while contemporaneously participating in sport. I finished my Psychology BA in 1995. Between 1991 and 1996, I earned multiple top-3 finishes at the Collegiate National Weightlifting Championships, played a year of intercollegiate football, and spent significant time training with the Men’s National Weightlifting Team in Colorado Springs, CO. My psyche degree was useful, as it could be beneficially applied to coaching. After taking a year to train for the 1996 Olympic Trials, I channelled my psychology and sporting background into coaching. First it was Linebackers at my highschool alma mater. Then in 1998, I was hired as an assistant coach for the US Resident Weightlifting Program in Colorado Springs. While there that I met a rotating Sports Medicine doctor who motivated me to investigate Physical therapy as a profession.
While living and working at the Olympic Training Center from 1998 to 2000, I received formal coaching certification from USA Weightlifting through to the Regional level. I also finished pre-requisite coursework and was accepted into USC’s Doctoral program in Physical Therapy. Graduating from PT school in 2004, I was hired by a Physical Therapy company local to the Newport~Mesa area. This job gave me the opportunity to treat patients from the area where I grew-up. I also had the privilege of working with some of the most well-known doctors in Orange County, and in particular, Physicians from the Newport Orthopedic Institute. I acted as a clinic director within our PT company, and watched my bosses’ organization grow from 1 to 5 facilities.
My involvement in helping professions and sport took a major turn in 2006 when my job brought me into contact with the mind-body exercise form know as Pilates. Over the last 9 years I have become proficient in applying all of the Pilates apparatus to the rehabilitation process.
Though Pilates has been a welcome addition to my physical therapy practice, training athletes has also remained part of what I have done over the years. I have been involved with the strength training of National Level Rowers, Basketball Players, and Golfers. In different ways I have integrated Pilates and Olympic Weightlifting into all of their training. In the immediate future, I am excited about how I can incorporate Active Release Techniques and the SFMA Biomechanical screen into my treatment of athletes.
Over my last 10 years of practice I have received additional certification as an Orthopaedic Certified Specialist, an instructor for Physical Therapy Clinical Education, a TPI-certified Golf-Fitness Professional, an FMS Level I & II practitioner, and an ART soft-tissue specialist. My current interests include Physical Therapy for Athletic Populations, the application of ART methods to patient and athletic populations, and the treatment techniques of Shirley Sahrmann.