Patient Spotlight

Ken Simons

As an Army veteran and construction industry professional who’s owned home building and development companies, Ken Simons was no stranger to physical activity -- until the trajectory of his life changed forever.  “I’d always been active -- a skier, runner, and sailor -- but one day in my 50s I suddenly couldn’t move my legs as I normally had,” shared the 67-year-old Bedminster resident.  Diagnosed with Ossification of the Posterior Longitudinal Ligament (OPLL), Simons underwent five surgeries over 20 years to relieve re-occurring compressions in his spinal cord, “but I’m effectively left with a permanent spinal cord injury that interrupts the connection between my brain and legs,” he said.  “I realized that I needed a way to stay active since exercise is so important.”

Ken’s quest led him to Excellent Physical Therapy, where he’s been successfully treated for over 15 years.  “What makes Excellent Physical Therapy so unique is the expertise of the staff as well as the kindness and compassion they exude,” he said.  “The treating therapists at EPT stay in the large gym with you throughout your entire treatment and all of the therapists collaborate and work together as a team, which creates a fun and truly therapeutic atmosphere.”

Ken’s pursuit to stay safely active also led to his development of the ‘Velochair,’ a personal mobility device ideal for anyone who’s challenged to be on their legs, including individuals dealing with spinal stenosis, Parkinson’s disease, MS, peripheral artery disease (PAD), stroke, and many other conditions. “The Velochair only requires one active leg and one active arm to operate and has allowed me to stay active and fully participate in life safely,” shared Ken, who recently secured a patent on his unique mobility device and will soon begin commercial sales.

“What I love most about Ken are his persistence and work ethic,” shared Kelly Papa, PTA, who’s been working with Simons three times a week for the past 4-5 years within the Gait & Balance Program that she supervises at EPT.  “He’s extremely determined to make a change and never gives up.  While he was once unable to walk, he’s now walking tall with walking sticks,” she said.  “He’s made great strides and has been an inspiration to all of us.”

“The quality of care and attention I’ve received from the therapists at EPT far surpasses that of any other facility I’ve tried,” Ken confirmed.  “EPT is a caring community and I’m much stronger, more flexible, and more stable since I started working with the excellent therapists at EPT.”


Debbie Dawson

As a busy psychologist who supervises nurses and counselors for a school district and also runs a private practice, Bedminster resident Debbie Dawson has little room in her schedule to be sidelined by injury.  Five years ago, however, she endured a dislocated patella (likely an exacerbation of sports-related injuries for which she had open knee surgeries decades ago).  Then, in 2016, she experienced loss of mobility in both shoulders as the result of a rotator cuff infection, tears, and surgery.  While she consulted with a number of physicians, it wasn’t until she saw the experts at Excellent Physical Therapy that she finally experienced the relief and improvement she’d longed for.

“After helping me to regain movement in my shoulder, the team at Excellent Physical Therapy suspected disc problems as well and recommended that I see a spine specialist, who found that I had two bulging discs in my neck that were contributing to my shoulder issues; since then, the therapists at EPT have helped me to decrease my neck pain significantly,” Dawson said.  Within her knee, “the EPT team manipulated scar and soft tissue that hadn’t healed properly and truly took the time to do that work such that by the time they finished, my knee was better than it had been in 10 years.”  Dawson also vigilantly adhered to an EPT-prescribed regimen of exercises designed to strengthen the muscles around her injuries.

  “Debbie is highly motivated, extremely diligent, and works her tail off in her rehab program and has had great results,” said EPT physical therapist Frank Lamorte of Dawson’s success.  

Going to EPT for treatment three times a week at the height of her rehab program, “I’m doing so much better that I’ve been able to taper down to just once a week and will soon be strong enough to start working on the Pilates Reformer,” shared a proud Dawson, who can’t say enough about the support she received from Frank, Ashley, and Cheryl over the years.  “The team at EPT has the expertise and does the intensive therapy that other practices don’t do,” she said.  “Their therapists care so much, are very encouraging, and they never give up on you.  EPT literally has your back – and the rest of you.”

John Pittman

Basking Ridge resident John Pittman was an avid athlete when a wintertime accident decades ago temporarily sidelined him and introduced a host of subsequent problems.  “I broke my right leg while skiing in the early 1970s and it took a long time to heal and ultimately didn’t heal properly,” explained the former AT&T/Lucent executive and current business consultant, who underwent numerous surgeries and procedures beginning in 1997.  “Though I continued to be active during that time, I ultimately contracted other related issues, including knee problems, arthritis in my ankle, and the eventual need to have my ankle fused.”

However, he credits his time at Excellent Physical Therapy with getting him on the road to sustained recovery.  “I started rehabbing at Excellent Physical Therapy 20 years ago,” said the upbeat Pittman, who regularly sees the specialists there and vigilantly works out at EPT’s facility on Somerville Road for 60-75 minutes three days a week.  “It’s not simply the facility or the skill of the providers that make the difference, but the energy, heart, and attitude that they bring to their treatment and patient relationships,” he said of the success he’s experienced under their care.  “The facility is a positive, friendly environment and I consider the entire staff trusted friends as well as seasoned practitioners.  They have a great ability to take an individual approach to each patient and to do it with a sense of energy, enthusiasm, care, and skill that permeates the practice.  As a result,” Pittman concluded, “I’m happy to say that I’m in some of the best shape of my life.

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