Photo: PT student, Ken Wheeler, working on plumbing during South Texas physical therapy mission trip
Ken Wheeler, who has been studying for his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Hardin-Simmons University, has been chosen to receive The Challenge Scholarship from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
The Challenge Scholarship is given to NSCA members seeking either an undergraduate or graduate degree in a strength and conditioning-related field.
Wheeler, who came to HSU in 2010, has already authored and self-published, Breaking the Cycle: Distance Running Training Guide, which he markets to high school and college coaches. While enrolled as a full-time DPT student, Ken also authored an abstract, “Splinting and Eccentric Exercise on Achilles Tendinopathy,” for the American Physical Therapy Association Hooked on Evidence program.
One of Wheeler’s professors, Dr. Dennis O’Connell, professor physical therapy and Shelton-Lacewell Endowed Chair, says Ken has a passion for resistance training as well as aerobic training. “While Ken is a gifted student in the classroom, he is even more interesting outside the classroom. I can always count on Ken stopping in my office regularly to discuss strength research, strength training, and strength evaluation concepts. Most recently, we were discussing his development of a business plan for a physical therapy/fitness training facility,” says O’Connell.
“Ken has a passion for learning that appears to be unquenchable. During his two years of doctoral study, Ken has attended over 146 hours of continuing education programming. That is a staggering feat, well-beyond the requirements of NSCA or many professional organizations to which I belong,” says O’Connell.
“Ken has a great desire to serve others and does so often. He has volunteered with Marathon for Miracles, Hendrick Children’s Hospital; Legislative Day in Austin; and has served as a tutor. During an HSU mission trip to a Colonia in Penitas, Texas, I had the distinct pleasure of working side-by-side with Ken. I saw him personally dig trenches and install plumbing from a house to a septic tank,” says O’Connell. “I also witnessed his careful construction, from scrap wood, of a cabinet for a kitchen sink as he helped to create a functional home for an impoverished family. He is a talented and tireless worker.”
O’Connell says Wheeler is poised for greatness in the strength training community, “He is creative, entrepreneurial, and credentialed. He has a passion for learning, research, service, and providing optimal training and rehabilitation. He is currently and will be an asset to all of us who are dedicated to improving peoples’ lives through resistance and other forms of training. Ken is a wonderful example of the best our profession has to offer.”
Wheeler earned his Personal Trainer certification (NSCA) when he was earning a B.S. from McMurry University. He earned his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist credential in 2011 while a full-time doctoral student at HSU.