Winston-Salem State physical therapy students make film about quarterback Rod Tinsley’s recovery

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- It was one of those plays on which a quarterback just hopes to “stay alive.”

Rod Tinsley is Winston-Salem State’s second all-time passer. But last September, he was on the run in a game – scrambling when he didn’t have an open receiver – and a defender caught up to him, hitting him as hard as he’s ever been hit.

Most of the blow was to his body, not his head, and he popped right up, so it wasn’t apparent that he was concussed. But, soon afterward, “Even the running back, then, Kerrion Moore at the time, he said, 'You don't look right.'”

He wasn’t. It was Tinsley’s fifth – and last, at least as a football player – concussion.

As he went through physical therapy, some of Winston-Salem State’s PT students were assigned to make a video about Tinsley’s journey. This is something few, if any, PT programs require but Winston-Salem State has found it to be an invaluable way to teach their students how to develop relationships with patients.

“It is a connection, it is a personal thing so take that time, even if it's only five or 10 minutes to see what they're going through because it could make a big difference on what you're trying to do,” said Ladi Omitoogun, one of the student-filmmakers.

Caroline Somerville, another of the PT students on the project, says it was a nice change of pace to all the other work they’re required to do.

“I think it's so easy to get bogged down with what we have to do in school every day because the program is rigorous - it's very intense, it goes all throughout the year, there's no time off,” Somerville said. “I think a project like this that make you slow down and think about why you're doing this, in the first place, empowers you to keep going through the program.”

Tinsley still has work to do in his healing.

“I definitely think some things still linger,” Tinsley said. “Just don't always feel the same as I think I would feel if I wasn't concussed.”

But by all appearances, he seems to be himself and plans to fully recover soon and fulfill his dream. Not to play in the NFL, but to be a police officer, likely in Winston-Salem.

“I knew from the beginning that I never wanted to go to the NFL,” he said. “Football was just something I was good at and was able to take to the next level.”

See some of their student film in this edition of the Buckley Report.

Full documentary 

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