Student Climbing Special Interest Group


The goal of the Rock Climbing Special Interest group is to provide an environment for Physical Therapy Students to learn through mentorship, guidance, panels, and article reviews about the management of rock climbing injuries.

Who can apply:

Any physical therapy student entering their 2nd or 3rd year with a GPA of > 3.3


Meetings will be held monthly via zoom throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. There will be seven total meetings. Each meeting will consist of a research article review followed by a case based scenario that involves clinical reasoning to assess and treat rock climbing injuries.

Independent Project:

Throughout the year, you will be mentored in the process of writing an article on a topic of your choice related to rock climbing injuries.

Application Due Date:

Applications are now open for the 2024 cohort. Applications are due by September 20th 2023 and will be reviewed in the order they are received.


Dr. Jared Vagy PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS – Director
Dr. Kevin Cowell, PT, DPT, OCS – Officer
Julien Descheneaux PHT. MSC – Officer


None. This is the faculty’s way to “give back” to students of physical therapy with our knowledge and expertise of managing rock climbing injuries.


To improve your likelihood of selection for the SIG, make sure to be detailed and descriptive with your answers to the question and prompts. Tell your story, highlight your interests, and share your passion!

Student Members
Name University
Alexa Allen Western Carolina University
Alexa Frischmann Trine University
Amanda Witt Western Carolina University
Andy Rivas Western Carolina University
Benjamin Thomas Moore Idaho State University
Colin Ramsey Western Carolina University
Connor Hayward University of Rhode Island
Daniel James South College – Knoxville
Danny Paredes University of Southern California
Emily Fuller Regis University
Evan Schneider Arcadia University
Fernando Cordova Lopez Instituto Profesional en Terapias y Humanidades
Gregory Rinn
University of North Carolina
Hudák Bence University of Debrecen
Jacquelyn Brown Saint Joseph’s University
Joseph Manoles Oregon State University
Kaitlyn Detlefsen Eastern Washington University
Kevin Slowik Grand Valley State University
Kyle Hertel Regis University
Liana Aguirre-Echevarria University of Colorado
Mari Maisla University of Tartu
Megan Hutchinson Western Carolina University
Nim Sze Angela Lee University of Birmingham
Paige Harrell University of Colorado
Samantha Christine Lemminger Concordia St. Paul
Samantha Iannucci
University of North Carolina
Sammy Laslie Bellarmine University
Sayra Sapien Loma Linda University
Sebastian Brothers University of Colorado
Shavonne Renfro Boston University
Taylor Barry Western Carolina University
Teresa Shultz University of Colorado
Timothy Worley University of Texas at El Paso
Tristan Smith-klooster McGill University
Witt, Amanda Eastern Washington University
Name University
A.J. White-Graff CSULB
Adrienne Rossi Mount Saint Mary’s University
Andrew Bosselman University of Montana
Andrew McClure Northern Arizona Univ.
Beth Clark University of Oklahoma
Billy Shiou University of Southern California
Brandon Whitmore Texas Woman’s University — Dallas
Caitlyn Wilkerson University of Central Florida
Carly Post University of Southern California
Cera Chiu Singapore Institute of Technology
David Cook University of Canberra
Emily Herbster Eastern Washington University
Erin Finestone UCSF/SFSU
Hiroya Son University of Southern California
Jennifer Yarin Boston University
Joshua Jones University of Colorado
Kaile Sauro University of Montana
Katrina Wong Chapman University
Kevin Nguyen Chapman University
Krista Kleinhammer Fresno State University
Nanna Brandt Gothenburg University
Shawna Troupe Eastern Washington University
Sophie John MGH IHP
Stacey Castaldo CSU Long Beach
Tyler Steele Western Carolina University
Whitley North Wayne State University
Xavier Cardinal Army-Baylor
Zachary Valavanis Carroll University
Name University
Andrea Gutierrez Arango University of Southern California
Annie Leavitt University of Colorado
Christin Donahoe University of Evansville
Claire Lorbiecki Regis University
Drake Griggs Carroll University
Honoka (Wendy) Shiga University of Southern California
James Lobb Western University
Johnathon Crawley Regis University
Jose Soltero University of Vermont
Josh Foster California State University Sacramento
Kimmi Wiley Carroll University
Marc Webber Kean University
Mike Hwang University of Southern California
Nicole (Reyes) Sarles University of Puget Sound
Rachel Meyers Duke University
Shawnee Wood Regis University
Todd Bushman Eastern Washington University
Victoria Lu University of Southern California
Whitby, Emily Army-Baylor
Zeno Lee MGH Institute of Health Professions
Name University
Bo Heris University of Southern California
Brian O’Meara University of Southern California
Chelsea Fan University of Southern California
Graham Gage University of Southern California
Kevin Reichel University of Southern California
Scott Dickenson University of Southern California

“The Climbing SIG has been an incredible privilege to be a part of. I have loved the opportunity to discuss relevant research, work through case studies, and receive mentorship from experts who treat climbers. Above all, my passion for this niche really came alive with the help of this group. I realized that incorporating climbing into physical therapy practice is well within reach if you’re willing to go for it!”

“The Climbing SIG was a great way to meet other students with similar interests and to get a glimpse of the intricacies of treating rock climbers. The faculty brought in some great clinical cases to challenge us and help to deepen the knowledge we have been learning in school while applying it to scenarios that are personally more relevant to me as a student and a developing clinician.”

“This group was amazing for hearing perspectives from a wide range of PT students and PT faculty. The discussion was great as it tested my understanding of the upper and lower extremity during movement. Lastly, the group provided great insights into lesser known conditions that present in a climbing population and how to assess for them.”

“The SIG gave me the knowledge and confidence to treat climbers and higher level athletes in a more specific fashion. Through this SIG I was able to form connections with peers and mentors as well as improve my movement analysis and intervention thought process. This experience was invaluable:”

“It was not only a great place to discuss climbing specific cases but it was also a really great setting to receive guidance and practice with finding evidence based research on the topic of our choice (specific to climbing injuries). Although it may seem like a lot of extra work (added on top of your school and personal life), this SIG is very structured with dates pre-planned which made it extremely easy for me to fit into my busy schedule. I highly recommend this SIG, especially if you are a SPT interested in working in the sport/orthopedic population or if you are a climber yourself!”

“Whether you are a climber or not, this is a great way to expand your overall PT knowledge and improve your clinical reasoning skills. Getting input from not only the extremely knowledgeable staff, but students from other programs as well, serves to expand your frame of thinking beyond what only learning from your DPT program provides.”

“The SIG is an amazing learning opportunity that teaches you evaluation and intervention approaches and considerations for climbers. It also connects you with a network of PT’s who are passionate about climbing and addressing the sport’s specific movement and training.”

“The Climbing SIG has been an amazing experience! The knowledge gained throughout the SIG is invaluable. It provides access to an awesome community of likeminded individuals. Once, completed this experience gives you the tools needed to help manage climbing specific injuries in order to keep people in the gyms and at the crag.”

“This was a great experience to learn from some of the PTs that are leaders in this niche of PT. It was wonderful to get to connect with other PTs/students with similar interests in the practice and be a part of this growing specialty.”

“The Climbing SIG is an incredible opportunity to practice working through rock climbing related patient cases, get involved with a great community of physical therapists and have the opportunity to write an article that gets published online. This group got me excited about the possibilities as a physical therapist and taught me so much!”

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