Smart Athlete PT has put together a collection of Raleigh’s most experienced physios in treating athletes and over-use injuries. Upon your introductory call to Smart Athlete we figure out which physio you best match up with to maximize your time with us.
Jeff Vajay is the founder of Smart Athlete Physiotherapy and a lifelong athlete. A four year starter for the Quinnipiac University tennis team and an inductee to the university’s athletic hall of fame, Jeff had more than his share of sports-related injuries and long recovery times. When he graduated with his physical therapy degree, he knew he wanted to help athletes recover faster, so they could return to competition stronger than before.
And Jeff has been doing just that. For nearly two decades, Jeff has worked with athletes from the NHL, NFL, NBA, ATP, WTA, MLB and US Olympic Track and Field, as well as various college athletes. He’s spent four years as a sports medicine therapist for the United States Tennis Association Men’s Professional Circuit and currently travels internationally as a Physiotherapist with the ATP World Tour.
Since the beginning of his career, Jeff’s goal has been getting his patients back to doing what they love, whether it’s sports or simply walking their dog. But despite his success, Jeff became frustrated with the limitations of traditional physical therapy clinics. After helping start multiple successful traditional physical therapy clinics in the area he decided to open his vision of what physiotherapy should be. To further differentiate from the traditional model he helped develop PtEverywhere, a cross-platform practice management solution for cash based providers that improves patient outcomes and connectivity to their provider.
Education: BS Physical Therapy Quinnipiac University
Specialty/Related Work: Kineticore Functional Dry Needling Certified • MyoPain Dry Needling Certified • American Academy of Manipulative Therapy • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) • Active Release • Kinesio Taping • Post – operative sports rehab • Video Analysis • Speed Mechanics/Movement Training Specialist • Functional Movement Screen (FMS) • Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA)
Michael Vita is the co-founder of Smart Athlete Physiotherapy and has been practicing in the areas of orthopaedics and electrophysiology over the last 19 years. He utilizes his wide array of knowledge in these areas to the benefit of the client.
Michael has worked with clients ranging from chronic pain patients to amateur and professional athletes. He utilizes his extensive continuing education from the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) to guide decision-making, and monitor progression objectively, so that clients can actually feel and see when things are improving. Michael incorporates various evidence-based approaches to evaluation and treatments including PRI, SFMA, Titleist Performance Institute (TPI), Mulligan’s techniques, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), Trigger Point Dry Needling, cupping, and KT taping techniques.
He believes that comprehensive patient education, active role taking in the rehabilitation process, and consideration of the client, as a whole is important to realize the long-term benefits of treatment. When communicating with all clients he aims to educate you about how your body works. He will show you how we all have the ability to re-educate our mind and body to create optimal outcomes.
Michael received his Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy at Utica College of Syracuse University in 1998, where he also played lacrosse. He received his transitional doctorate of Physical Therapy from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in 2010. He also attended Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions for studies in Clinical Electrophysiology as a Doctor of Science candidate from 2005-2012. He obtained his Electrophysiologic Clinical Specialist designation from the American Board of Physical Therapy Examiners in 2007.
Education: Rocky Mountain University, DPT
Specialty/Related Work: Electrophysiological Clinical Specialist (ECS) Certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties • Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) Level I • Titleist Performance Institute –Medical Professional Level I • Basic and advanced course work presented by the Postural Restoration Institute • Kinesio Taping •Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Massage (IASTM) • Post-Operative Rehabilitation • Manual Orthopedic Therapy Techniques • Dry Needling
Jon Paryz, co-owner of Smart Athlete earned his Physical Therapy degree from Daemen College in Amherst, NY in 1993 and became NSCA Certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist in 2002. Specializing in sports medicine, manual therapy and general orthopedics, he focuses his treatment of the body as a whole and on re-educating proper movement patterns. He believes a proper and thorough evaluation to identify the source of the patient’s dysfunction and symptoms is the key to long-term relief and assists in prevention of re-injury. Utilizing functional manual therapy as well as patient education he is able to help achieve his patients’ goals and speed the recovery process.
Jon has continued to advance his manual skills, training and education by studying multiple approaches to physical therapy specializing in Dry Needling from Kinetacore, manual techniques from Maitland Institute and Institute of Physical Art (IPA) as well as functional movement approaches from the Postural Restoration Institute(PRI), McKenzie, Gary Gray PT, and many others.
Jon began his career in Florida where his love of sports medicine intensified working with professional, collegiate and HS athletes. Jon worked with touring tennis professionals and top-ranked juniors from both the Saddlebrook and Palmer Academies. He has taught national seminars to other physical therapists on how to evaluate and treat the tennis athlete and the bio-mechanics of tennis. He is passionate about working with new and seasoned athletes specializing in tennis players, runners and triathletes. In addition to working with top-ranked ATP and WTA professionals, he has worked with athletes from all major sports, including the NCAA, NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, Arena Football, LPGA, US and Foreign Olympic teams and served as one of the physical therapy providers for the Carolina Ballet for 5 years.
Jon lectures and teaches seminars on running biomechanics, injury prevention and plyometric training. Jon is skilled in evaluation and fitting of temporary shoe postings, permanent orthotics and proper footwear selection to normalize foot and ankle biomechanics and allow for more efficient movement patterns. He offers video analysis and functional exercise to aid in athletes rehabilitation and performance enhancement.
Jon is also currently working as a physiotherapist on the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Tour and a self-proclaimed and proud PT geek. He loves discussing and reading up on the latest trends and approaches in therapy and sports training. Originally from the Buffalo, New York area, he and Debbie have fallen in love with North Carolina, where they stay active and raise their 2 boys Tyler and Josh. Jon enjoys staying fit by cycling, running, playing tennis, practicing yoga and competing in triathlons including B2B, the Raleigh 70.3 and Ironman Lake Placid.
Emily Lusnia earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Saint Augustine in Saint Augustine, FL in 2012, with a heavy concentration in manual therapy. She earned her B.S. in Kinesiology at Campbell University in 2009. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate Of Health Science at Campbell University. Emily is a registered yoga teacher with the yoga alliance (RYT200) and certified in Functional Dry Needling.
Emily enjoys working with clients of all ages. In recent years she has focused on heavy concentration of athletes, prenatal, and postpartum clients. She also enjoys treating the weekend warrior, the daily stress of the desk jobs, and restoring functional mobility in the aging population. She looks forward to serving the community and expanding her knowledge and skills with the team at Smart Athlete. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, paddle boarding, outdoor recreation, running, cooking, and exploring areas of natural health. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, as well as their 2 dogs.
CarolAnn Wiggs has been a physical therapist in outpatient orthopedics for over 10 years. She enjoys treating a variety of conditions, including lower extremity conditions, temporomandibular disorders, and postural dysfunctions. She has a certification in dry needling from Master Dry Needling.
CarolAnn grew up in Raleigh with her parents and 2 younger sisters. She attended Wake Forest University, earning a BS degree in Health and Exercise Science in 2007. She then received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Emory University in 2010. Her first few years as a physical therapist were spent in Louisville, Kentucky at an outpatient orthopedic clinic, where she was able to participate in a mentorship. She moved back to Raleigh with her husband in 2012. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, running, live music, and keeping up with her 2 young sons.
Quentin Guichard is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He leads our Sports Performance Training and Tennis Performance Training programs. Quentin grew up in the French Alps, and although skiing is part of his DNA, tennis is what brought him to the U.S. in 2004. He played Division I college tennis for Charleston Southern University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business and a Master of Business Administration. During his tenure at CSU, Quentin played #1 singles all four years, was MVP three years and All Conference doubles two years. He was a teaching pro at North Ridge Country Club and the assistant tennis coach at CSU during his MBA. In addition to tennis, Quentin competed in obstacle course racing for several years. He is also passionate about CrossFit and holds a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certificate. All three sports have exposed Quentin to the many dimensions of sports performance: agility, speed, strength, power, and endurance. Quentin’s ultimate goal as a coach is to help people maximize their potential while preventing injury-related setbacks. He firmly believes that his athletes can accomplish this through perfect technique, proper stimulus, accessory training, and a focus on overall health. Quentin lives in Durham with his wife, Lauriane, and their son, Axell.
Andrew Hodges has worked with clients and athletes of all ages, levels, sports, and abilities. He holds a Bachelors degree from Elon University, where he played Division 1 NCAA Tennis, and later earned his Masters degree from Duke University. He has been certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) as well the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) and Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). In addition, Andrew is a certified professional with the United States Professional Tennis Association, the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) and Functional Movement Systems (FMS). As a Strength and Conditioning Coach, he has worked with NC State Basketball and Tennis Programs and was the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for Chris Evert’s IMG Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fl. In particular, Andrew has extensive experience in high performance athletes and functional movement. As a Tennis Professional, Andrew has also worked at numerous private clubs up and down the east coast including the prestigious Milbrook Club in Greenwich, CT and the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fl. Division I college tennis for Charleston Southern University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business and a Master of Business Administration. During his tenure at CSU, Quentin played #1 singles all four years, was MVP three years and All Conference doubles two years. He was a teaching pro at North Ridge Country Club and the assistant tennis coach at CSU during his MBA. In addition to tennis, Quentin competed in obstacle course racing for several years. He is also passionate about CrossFit and holds a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certificate. All three sports have exposed Quentin to the many dimensions of sports performance: agility, speed, strength, power, and endurance. Quentin’s ultimate goal as a coach is to help people maximize their potential while preventing injury-related setbacks. He firmly believes that his athletes can accomplish this through perfect technique, proper stimulus, accessory training, and a focus on overall health. Quentin lives in Durham with his wife, Lauriane, and their son, Axell.
Dr. Elaine Lawrie holds multiple certifications to help her efficiently and effectively treat her patients: Certified Full Body Active Release Technique Provider, Certified Medical Acupuncture , Certified Functional Anatomy Seminars – FRA, FRR, FRC, SFMA Level 1, Fascial Abrasion Technique F.A.T.Elaine’s treatment philosophy is simple – to help patients move better so they can perform their sport, job or daily activities at their best. Elaine uses a variety of techniques including Active Release Technique (activerelease.com), Functional Range Release and Conditioning (www.functionalanatomyseminars.com), manipulation/mobilization, Contemporary Medical Acupuncture and exercise with the goal of helping patient return to optimal health, allowing them to do what they love. Elaine has experience working with a variety of patients including high performance athletes including but not limited to NHL athletes and professional track sprinters. Elaine lives in Raleigh with her husband and daughter. You will often find her out running with friends and competing in local races. She loves to be outside cycling, walking her dog, and be on the sidelines of the hockey rink, soccer field and track cheering on her daughter.