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Athletics: Winter 2009
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: January 20, 2009

He has it all taped up

AS FANS WATCHED Kerri Walsh play Olympic beach volleyball this past summer in Beijing, many wondered what the black thing on her shoulder was: a tattoo, an advertisement?

NBC let us know that it was elastic Kinesio Tape, a sports medicine technique to support her shoulder following recent rotator cuff surgery.

The world is now aware of Kinesio taping, but Jim Wallis (shown here with PSU-winning volleyball player Erica Jepsen), PSU's head athletic trainer, has known about it for more than a decade. In fact, Wallis is an internationally recognized expert in the special taping technique used to reduce pain and inflammation and enhance muscle function and joint movement.

Back in 1994, Wallis made a presentation in Japan about athletic training in the United States. While there he heard about Dr. Kenzo Kase and his development of the Kinesio taping technique. Kase, in turn, heard about Wallis and asked him to help introduce the new technique and tape in the United States.

A friendship and partnership was born, and together they wrote Clinical Therapy Applications for the Kinesio Taping Method, which has sold 16,600 copies and is used in most of the 68 countries where athletic trainers and other health professionals have adopted the technique.

Since then, Wallis has been involved in training all of the 35 or so active Kinesio method teachers in the U.S., and every year he conducts a training workshop with the Japan Athletic Training Association for Certification at Portland State.

KINESIO TAPING is a "very different way to use tape," says Wallis. "It's elastic tape and when applied to the skin, it creates tension and stimulation that the body reacts to while healing. It's designed to mimic your skin."

The tape technique does not replace medicine for pain and inflammation, says Wallis, but it does allow therapists to use less of those drugs.

As a student at Washington State University many years ago, Wallis chose sports training because it combined his interest in medicine with his passion for sports. He had no idea that this would lead to him becoming an international expert and author.

Although Wallis has never met Olympic star Kerri Walsh, he was on hand to tape members of the winning U.S. Olympic fencing team at a pre-Olympics Pan Am Championships held in Mexico in July.

Volleyball wins Big Sky

The Portland State volleyball team won the Big Sky Championship and played in the NCAA Division I tourney for the first time in school history. The women lost in the first round, but finished the year at 20-9, the program's fourth straight 20-win season. Team members (left to right) Christie Hamilton, Lana Zielke, and Nique Fradella celebrate.

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