Focusing on You with Compassion & Competence
Our staff members are special. Their education, experience and expertise combined with compassion and dedication help our clients and patients achieve their goals, whether to alleviate pain, enhance motor skills, lose weight or get stronger, faster, more fit. They’ve chosen to work for us, when they could work for virtually anyone. Here are some of the reasons why, in their own words:
“Doctors respect us highly, as evidenced by the fact that they refer many patients to us, specifically. That says a lot about us and makes me proud to work here.”
“A great team of dedicated professionals that share the vision of making people’s lives better in a family environment.”
“What’s unique about us is the small, one-on-one environment and individual attention we give our clients. I also appreciate the unique relationship between the fitness center and physical therapy.”
“Our core competency is to make people’s lives better … We have a great team of dedicated professionals that share the vision in a family environment.”
The Crème de la Crème
Michael Morgan, owner and director of Darien Physical Therapy Sports & Fitness, is ambitious, in the best sense of the word. He is ambitious for his clients, creating a unique, facility that offers the promise to “get well, stay well”. He’s ambitious for the community’s children, creating programs for boys and girls ages 7 and up that enhance strength, endurance and speed. He’s even ambitious for the community’s golfers – and there are many! – offering a golf performance program that measurably enhances their game. Michael has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, where he played football and baseball and was certified as a trainer. He earned a Master of Science degree summa cum laude in Physical Therapy from Long Island University. ”My vision from the start was to create a facility and an environment conducive to health, happiness and well being. The facility is great; our dedicated staff is even greater.”
Dave Plonsky walks the talk. He not only preaches the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, he backs it up by committing himself to vigorous strength and cardiac training five days a week. Dave is known for constantly looking for ways to improve his abilities. He earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in physical therapy from Quinnipiac University and has continued his education by focusing on orthotics, the spine and manual techniques, among others. He’s also achieved the coveted designation of Certified Golf Fitness Instructor, Level II, from the Titleist Institute. He is our Director of Body Balance for Golf Performance. Speaking of improving a player’s golf game, he says: “Our program has proved itself over the years as a great way to get in ‘golf shape’ with golf-specific stretching and strengthening activities complemented with the latest technology to pinpoint swing flaws, and fix them.”
Martin Ragonese looks on Darien Physical Therapy Sports & Fitness as his second home. He’s been here for 10 years, so that’s part of it. The bigger part of it is his relationship with clients and patients and the rest of our staff. Martin goes out of his way to help anyone he can. Need instruction on a piece of equipment? Martin is there. What’s the most effective way to stretch those WHAT ? Ask Martin. Need to send a fax in a pinch? Martin’s your man. Most of the time Martin can be found in the Fitness Center helping, cheering, coaxing, supporting patients working to overcome an injury or someone who simply dropped in for a workout. He’s a certified fitness trainer and performance coach and is integrally involved in metabolic testing and our clients’ weight loss management. Martin is a member of the National Fitness Trainers Association.
Jim Rumsey is one of the most experienced physical therapists in the state, and highly respected for his work here and abroad. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Slippery Rock University and a Physical Therapy certification from NYU. At the beginning of his career, he spent four years as a therapist in a physician’s office in Manhattan and two-and-a-half years at Stamford Hospital and United Orthopedics Hospital in Newark, NJ. There’s hardly an injury or condition he hasn’t treated in his distinguished career. He’s also had a number of unique experiences: he spent six months in Malta on the set of the movie Popeye, which starred Robin Williams, and recently returned from Africa, where he provided his rehabilitation services to a number of poor communities. Jim is the former owner of Darien Physical Therapy.
Juan Morales has a philosophy: “Treat the cause, not just the symptoms.” Juan developed an intense interest in physical therapy as an athlete in the schools of Rye, NY, and, after sophomore year, at a high school in Santiago, Chile. “Like everyone else, I was always getting nicked up playing football and basketball, and at first I’d just throw an ice pack or heating pad on whatever was bothering me,” he says. “But I eventually realized that I was treating symptoms alone, which meant that I wasn’t healing as fast or as permanently as I wanted.”
Juan decided to study kinesiology – the movement of the body — at Andres Bello University in Chile, and, after getting a two year degree, came to Sacred Heart University in Fairfield to finish his undergraduate in exercise science/physiology. He then entered Sacred Heart’s highly-respected clinical doctorate course in physical therapy, graduating from the three year program in May, 2009, shortly before joining Darien Physical Therapy. Juan has continued his education, with an emphasis on foot mechanics, manual spine techniques, balance and sports specific training.
Juan believes great therapy starts with the proper diagnosis, followed by hands on care, literally. “Once I identify what a problem is, I implement manual therapy – using my hands in most cases – to treat limitations. If I correctly evaluate a bio-mechanical issue, I can then work on the underlying problem or problems, not simply the symptom.
Santhoshini Hiremagalur – or Sun as she is called — got her interest in physical therapy from her father, who manufactured and marketed medical devices in the family’s home town of Bangalore, India. “My father occasionally would bring me to meet his clients, some of whom were physical therapists,” she says. “I was fascinated at how effective a good physical therapist could be in helping alleviate pain and get people moving normally, so at a pretty early age, I decided I wanted to be a physical therapist.”
Sun attended the Infant Jesus College of Physiotherapy from 1997 to 2002, and after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, worked for three years in a variety of outpatient and hospital settings in India. Sun received her advanced master’s degree in orthopedic physical therapy from Quinnipiac University in 2007, and before joining Darien Physical Therapy in early 2009, worked in outpatient orthopedics.
Sun’s primary focus is in orthopedics and sports rehabilitation with a sub-specialty in post-surgical rehabilitation, which she finds particularly interesting. “Post-surgical rehabilitation is an area where an effective physical therapy program can be very effective, and in a relatively short time,” she says. ”A patient recovering from surgery is distressed, and often in pain. We develop a program here to get the patient pain free and back to normal just as soon as possible. Post-surgical rehab gives me great satisfaction because day-by-day, I see my patients improve their mobility while reducing and eliminating pain.”
Michael Goldsmith, DPT, CSCS, joined Darien Physical Therapy in June of 2012. He holds an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from Sacred Heart University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. While in college, Michael worked as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer at a health club, the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, and a gymnastics facility. Michael continued at Sacred Heart to complete a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Michael also has an advanced specialty certification in Primal Reflex Release Technique (PRRT) used in managing musculoskeletal pain. He has clinical experience in orthopedics, skilled nursing, and acute care, and is most interested in treating patients with muscular pain pathologies.
He is innovative at integrating exercise with therapy to achieve a blend that not only enables patients to reduce or eliminate pain, but to remain fit, one of the principles of Darien Physical Therapy. “I encourage and motivate my patients,” Michael says, “to continue their work after formal therapy ends by dedicating themselves to fitness, good nutrition, and an overall healthy lifestyle. ‘Get Well, Stay Well’ isn’t just a slogan here, but a path to a lifetime of good health.” In his spare time, Michael enjoys exercising and playing sports. He is also an accomplished musician and enjoys playing the piano, church pipe organ, electric guitar, and the drums.
Andrea Boreck, DPT, joined Darien Physical Therapy in May of 2014, culminating seven years of physical therapy education at the University of Scranton. At Scranton, Andrea earned an undergraduate degree in exercise science with a concentration in nutrition and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy, while .maintaining a spot on the academic Dean’s List and being active as a member of Phi Epsilon Kappa Honor Society.
Andrea enhanced her skills in treating young and old during her college years by interning at Danbury Hospital’s acute care facility, assisting post-op patients to recover from a range of operations, including total joint replacement; the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, and a PT clinic in Secaucus, NJ, where she focused on outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine. She also interned at Darien Physical Therapy, where her talent and vibrant personality caught the attention of patients, and owner Mike Morgan.
Andrea knows first-hand how debilitating, and frustrating, an operation, an injury, or the effects of aging can be. She was an outstanding soccer player in high school for Immaculate Heart Academy in New Jersey, among the leading soccer high schools in the country. Early in her career, she tore her ACL – not once, but twice. It forced her to miss her sophomore season, but set her on the path to become a therapist. Her soccer injuries committed her to a life of “Get Well, Stay Well” – the principle guiding all DPT therapists — long before she heard of Darien Physical Therapy. When she injured herself, she embraced a rigorous recovery program, followed by an ongoing commitment to good health, today and every day. A philosophy she encourages all her patients, no matter their age, to follow.
While Andrea enjoys making a positive impact on all DPT clients, no matter their condition, her background in sports and experience in the geriatric center makes her the perfect choice for either type ofpatient. Her treatment philosophy begins with a focus on muscle and skeletal alignment using a manual-based approach. The method – getting a person’s foundation right – reduces or eliminates pain and enhances mobility, key objectives of every patient. “No one wants to live with pain,” she says, “or be incapacitated. I know when I tore my ACL, it hurt, and I was out of commission for some time. It was physical therapy that got me back on my feet, literally. I’m dedicated to doing the same for my patients.”Andrea recently married her college sweetheart – a physical trainer — and the couple is committed to not just living a healthy life, but to help others do the same. Andrea has been active in whatever community she lives. For example, while in college, she participated in many service programs, including a “Seniorcise” exercise program for seniors which she helped lead for four years. She also spent time in 2014 in Guyana, South America, treating local people and held in-service training for native therapists.