Fowler-Kennedy leads in sports medicine

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Since opening in 1974, the Fowler-Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic has expanded from humble beginnings to setting the standard for sports medicine in Canada.

From conducting research on body motion to performing orthopedic operations, Fowler-Kennedy offers a wide range of services at each of its three London locations, one of which is on Western’s campus behind the 3M Centre.

While professional athletes like former Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman and Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis have used the clinic, the centre has a wide range of clientele, from gym rats to armchair quarterbacks.

The clinic was founded by Peter Fowler and the late Jack Kennedy " both former professors in Western’s Faculty of Medicine and prominent orthopedic surgeons in London " and was officially named after the two men in 1997.

Robert Furlong, executive director of the clinic, discussed the role both men played in making Fowler-Kennedy what it is today.

“We are on the leading edge in the country in some of the research we do, and Dr. Fowler still does a lot of speaking engagements and is one of the most sought-after lecturers in terms of sport medicine in the world,” Furlong said. “Also, the whole concept of sport medicine really started here with Dr. Kennedy.”

Western’s varsity teams use the clinic regularly.

Third-year women’s basketball forward Bess Lennox, who had knee surgery in her first and second years of university, required extensive rehabilitation at Fowler-Kennedy to return to the hardwood.

“The staff at Fowler is unbelievable,” she said. “They are constantly monitoring your progress, giving you new exercises and encouraging you.”

To return to playing shape, Lennox strengthened her muscles with free weights and used bungee cords to regain her range of motion.

Lorie Forwell, the clinic’s director of physiotherapy, discussed the enhanced rehabilitation process at Fowler-Kennedy.

“When a patient comes in, we’ll do a full assessment [on them],” she said. “[Then], based on those findings, we will put together a treatment, and treatment will entail exercises that are extremely specific to the muscle and how the muscle or joint is supposed to work. As the patient progresses, they will do more active rehab, and in that case what we’re doing is putting increased stress on structures.

“So it’s a much higher level of function than you’ll see at a lot of physiotherapy clinics because our level of acceptability is much higher... since people want to compete at a much higher level.”

In addition to using the clinic, Furlong also discussed the clinic’s student internship opportunities.

“Through the Faculty of Health Sciences we have an opportunity [for] physiotherapy students to do a placement here,” she said. “And through the kinesiology department, we have student trainers who work with teams and liase with physiotherapists.

“We also have medical residents from the Schulich School of Medicine who come and shadow physicians.”

The clinic also has volunteer positions available for students wanting greater exposure to physiotherapy, Furlong added.

With health care a major public policy issue in Canada, Furlong talked about how clinics like Fowler-Kennedy aid the system.

“A lot of patients presented in emergency have sport injuries, and a lot of them are due to not wearing proper equipment, or not training properly. So we really focus on those things with our patients to see if it was preventable and try and make sure [it] doesn’t happen again.”

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette