Kerry Gustafson
OWNER OF PRIME ATHLETIC TRAINER | MASSAGE

Knowledgeable, professional, innovative, team player with 17 years of experience providing health care to patients in the physical therapy, high school, Division I college athletic settings, and professional athletes. Community-focused individual who focuses on creating an individualized experience for clients.


Awards:

  • Best of Bellingham Award for Best Massage Therapist (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • Dean's List 4.0 GPA - Whatcom Community College, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012
  • Most Outstanding Graduating Senior - Washington State University 1999, College of Education, Kinesiology


How long have you been an athletic trainer? What are the different settings in which you’ve worked ?

I worked for 8 years at an outpatient physical therapy clinic with two high school contracts. I also worked as a collegiate athletic trainer at Washington State University. 

How long have you been an athletic trainer at Prime Massage and Sports Medicine?

I started Prime Massage and Sports Medicine in Bellingham in 2012 - one of the first private practice athletic training clinics in the country.  I became a licensed massage therapist in 2012 to be able to offer athletes a more holistic approach to healing and prevention of injury.

Is there one experience you can point to that has influenced the way you practice?

Within the first month of moving to Bellingham, I took a wrong step in the backcountry. I sustained a Weber-C fracture of the left ankle. I’d have to say that the entire process of being a patient - going through an emergency rescue, having surgery, and going through rehab - has made me a better practitioner.

What advice would you give to a new athletic trainer just starting out?

Take advantage of opportunities around you even if they are out of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself. Reach out to mentors around you to ask questions and pick their brains. Get involved.

Start to look for specific opportunities within the discipline that interests you the most. Volunteer. Observe. See if you actually like it. Get as educated about each level that you can. Find out what specific NATA connections you need to make to support your goals.

Who are your clients?

I work with everyone from professional and elite athletes to recreational athletes who want to maintain a healthy active lifestyle.

How do you differ from other athletic trainers and massage therapists?

I opened my own practice to bring the tools and benefits ofan elite athletic training room to the everyday athlete.

Who do you work best with?

I work best with highly motivated individuals who take responsibility for their healthcare and well being.

What kind of personality do you not work well with?

The individual who shows up for a passive treatment wanting to be fixed. The person says, “You’re probably going to give me stuff to do...and I’m probably not going to do it.”

How do you work? What can I expect?

I perform an initial evaluation. This includes muscular-skeletal and neuromuscular assessment, and looking at tissue quality. From there we will develop a treatment plan in coordination with your referring medical provider. The treatment plan can include rehabilitation, therapeutic exercise, mobility and functional movement exercises, massage therapy techniques, and home exercise programming.

Can I just sign up for one session with you?

Clients begin with an initial evaluation and for the best results come back for anywhere from two to four follow up visits. My goal is to get you as independent as possible with periodic check-ins.

Training takes its toll on the body and creates imbalances. Your moving parts need attention. Thus, clients who see the best results come in more regularly. Consistent maintenance provides you with the best opportunity for regular tune-ups.

Does this really work?

Yes. My clients see measurable and proven results.

What results can I expect?

My goal for session one is to reduce your pain score by 50% - if not completely get rid of it. I spend time educating you on the contraindications regarding your injury. I provide you with the tools to promote healing. I help create a training plan to get you back to full participation in your sport or activity.

Why do I need you? Can’t I just do this on my own?

Most people come to see me after failed DIY attempts. Athletic trainers specialize in the immediate care and rehabilitation to optimize healing. Most DIY’ers spend weeks and months chasing the wrong thing. Get to the individual fingerprint of what’s going on and create a personal plan just for you. Most clients don’t fit into the box of the 100 people in a forum for rotator cuff injuries.

I’m really busy and overwhelmed. How much time is involved before I get results?

Most people see results within the first 7 to 10 days with 15 to 20 minutes of individual work per day.

How can I get the very best results fast?

Schedule with me within the first 24 to 48 hours of your initial injury. The faster we can address what’s going on the less chance you’l have at your body creating imbalances around the initial injury. The tissue damage timeline gets reduced.

Will I see a return onmy investment?

You’ll see an immediate return on your investment. If it’s beyond my scope I’ll refer you to the right professional who can get to the root of what’s going on. Most of the time the investment comes in the form of the homework I’m going to give you. I’m responsible for a good chunk of your improvement. You’re in control of the end result.

I’ve never invested in myself before? How can I justify this expense?

What my clients have found is that when you invest in yourself, you are not “spending money.” You are investing in your results.

How would you like to get back to doing whatever activity or sport you love to do?

Treatment massage is not a traditional spa massage. Most people think of massage as an indulgence and a treat. While I do my best to make treatment relaxing, my goal is to get to the root of the problem and leave you with results you’ll continue to feel over the next several days.

Yes, you can certainly go out and [whatever the option is in your industry—“DIY” your way through,”“complain that health insurance won’t cover it,” etc.], but what my clients discover is that when you invest in yourself, you are not “spending money.” You are investing in your results. Money is the energy of commitment. When you commit with money, you go “all in.” And the return on investment lasts a lifetime. To spend money is to fill a void with a quick fix. To invest in yourself is to change your whole life.”

Why don’t you take insurance?

The traditional insurance model has created a cattle herding approach to medicine. We’ve all been there...Only spending 15-20 minutes with our medical providers, leaving the appointment feeling incomplete and not understood. My objective in medicine is to provide an environment that is not rushed, allows more time one-on-one to uncover many of the layers of the true underlying cause of your problem. By taking this time at the beginning, you will not have to come back over and over again and will in turn, get better faster.

Certain insurance companies will allow for reimbursement for my services as an out of network provider. If this is the case, I am happy to provide you with a super bill for a partial reimbursement of services rendered depending on your policy provided I have a diagnosis code from your referring medical provider.

I have a few questions for you. Can I talk on the phone?

I offer online scheduling because I am usually with patients from 9am to 6pm. Please send your question by email or schedule an initial evaluation and I am happy to answer all of the questions I can at that time.