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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Kevin M. Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP Vice President of Prosthetics for Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics-The Real Life Dolphin Tale Prosthetist- Sponsored by Big Apple Mini Storage & Liffey Van Lines, Inc.

Kevin Carroll

Sponsored by:
Big Apple Mini Storage
Liffey Van Lines, Inc. 

Kevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP is an accomplished healthcare professional with over 30 years as a practicing prosthetist, visionary researcher, and skilled educator. As Vice President of Prosthetics for Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Carroll travels both nationally and internationally presenting scientific symposiums and managing clinics for difficult prosthetic cases. He has appeared internationally on news broadcasts such as Dateline, 20/20, CBS Early Show, NBC Nightly News, ABC’s Good Morning America, and the Discovery Channel.

Carroll’s commitment to improving prosthetics has placed him at the forefront of numerous prosthetic breakthroughs. He is co-developer of the patented Hanger ComfortFlex™ Socket System; a bone and muscle contoured socket that revolutionized socket design and comfort. He is also engaged in the development of the Sense of Feel and Hot and Cold Sensory Systems and the Neuropathic Foot Protection System for diabetic patients.

Carroll’s guiding philosophy is simple: people first. By listening to each person’s thoughts and concerns, and understanding their unique situations, Carroll has found a sure path to assisting people in their rehabilitation. He specializes in the care of older adults and has a degree in gerontology, enhancing his expertise in this area.

When not caring for his human patients, Carroll volunteers weekends to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium where he works with a young amputee dolphin. Carroll and his Hanger colleague Dan Strzempka co-developed the world’s first prosthetic tail that replaces the entire tail fluke. A young Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, Winter was caught in a crab trap near Cape Canaveral in December 2005, when she was just three-months-old. Her tail fluke eventually came off, as it was severely damaged by the trap’s rope entanglement. Winter received round-the-clock medical attention to save her life. Having survived, she adapted to a less efficient, damaging side-to-side swimming style, as there was no tail fluke to give her thrust. Thanks to Carroll and Strzempka’s ingenuity, Winter became the first dolphin to have her entire tail fluke replaced with a prosthetic device. The real life survival story of Winter and Carroll’s innovative prosthetic tail design came alive on the silver screen nationwide September 23, 2011 in a 3D feature film titled “Dolphin Tale, “ which stars Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristopherson, and Harry Connick, Jr. Playing a prosthetist, Freeman portrays the prosthetic work completed Carroll and Strzempka.

Carroll is an American Board Certified Prosthetist and was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthotics and Prosthetics, one of the highest honors of the profession. He is a member of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics, a professional advisor for the Amputee Coalition, a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, and a member of the British Association of Prosthetics and Orthotics (BAPO).

Carroll’s practice began in his native country of Ireland in 1978 at the National Medical Rehabilitation Center in Dublin. In 1984, he moved to the United States, and later became Vice President of Prosthetics for Nova Care Sabolich, and then Vice President of Prosthetics for Hanger. We are so pleased to present Kevin Carroll as our latest Mover and Shaker! Peachy Deegan interviewed Kevin Carroll for Whom You Know.
Kevin Carroll and Winter the Dolphin

Peachy Deegan: When you were growing up, did you exhibit a predisposition to be inclined towards the healthcare profession, and if yes, how so?
Kevin Carroll: As a child growing up in Ireland, my mother was very involved with volunteering and fundraising. My mom was always caring for people, so I grew up around that and volunteered at a hospital for children. Whenever I would come across a little bird or an animal that had been injured, I would make a splint for them. My mom was a great role model.

At what point in the real life evolution of Winter's story did you realize it had big screen potential and what made you realize this?
I actually never thought about it as having big screen potential. I was caught by surprise when they said they were going to turn Winter’s story into a movie.

What was your reaction to Morgan Freeman playing you in the movie?
I was very honored when I found out Morgan Freeman was portraying myself and my colleague Dan Strzempka. 

What should the world know about Winter that they don't know yet?
Winter continues to be herself – a happy little dolphin. She hasn’t let the fame go to her head!

What do all the professional designations after your name mean-please explain them to our audience.
The MS represents my Masters of Science degree in Counseling Psychology which I received from Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The CP means “certified prosthetist”. I’ve been certified by the American Board of Certified Prosthetists
The FAAOP means “Fellow of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists” which is one of the highest honors in the profession.

We love, love, love Ireland and Peachy spent a semester at UCC. What should most Americans know about Ireland that most do not know?
It’s the friendliest country in the world! The very minute people in Ireland meet you they embrace you and take you in as part of their family.

How are you best inspired to come up with new ways of solving problems professionally in what you do?
My work with patients everyday inspires me to persevere and continue to come up with new prosthetic systems and developments that will help increase their mobility. It's priceless to be able to see a patient take their firsts steps using their new prosthetic devices and I’m honored to play a part in the process.

Does the Dolphin Tale movie differ much from the real life version you live or not much, and if it does differ, how so?
The movie is loosely based on the real life story of Winter. Hollywood wants to make movies interesting for the audience, but since Winter’s story is probably one of the most interesting stories there is, they didn’t have to stretch it too far to capture the attention of the audience.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
I suppose it’s self-driven. Perfectionism can be a good thing, and a bad thing. You can drive yourself crazy, but the people on the receiving end greatly appreciate it!

What are you proudest of and why?
My children, my wife and my family. Without their support I wouldn’t be able to get to do what I do.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
Personally, I’d like to create more opportunities for people in need that may not otherwise get them, especially children. I’d like to figure out a way to help more people; there’s a lot of need out there.

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
At the turn of the millennium, my hometown in Ireland gave be the “Person of the Year Award” which I’m very proud of! Also, I was featured in TIME Magazine’s article titled “Innovators: Building a Better Athlete” which introduced six expert craftsmen and scientists who have developed mechanisms and methods that improve athletic performance.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
Every time I visit Manhattan I take a walk in Central Park.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
Sam Ash Music Store on 48th Street (it used to be called Manny’s).

What is your favorite drink?
Orange juice with no ice.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party?
I would have to say competing with my colleague Wallis Farraday to capture the audience’s attention on stage. He’s from New Zealand so he did the Haka dance and I played my spoons!

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
I actually try to not repeat restaurants when I travel; I like to try new places. 

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
I know it’s not a book, but I like to read the New Yorker magazine.

Who would you like to be for a day and why?
I’d like to be Morgan Freeman because I got to know him briefly while shooting the movie Dolphin Tale. I think he’s a very inspirational individual. The roles that he gets to play such as Nelson Mandela, has allowed him to interact with some of the world’s most influential thinkers.

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
Central Park because I like open spaces and I like how it creates an ambiance of happiness for people who go there. It’s rare that you’ll see a sad face in Central Park!

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
Running with our prosthetic users in Central Park.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
I have the opportunity to sit and visit with my friend and colleague John Rheinstein. We philosophize about what’s going on in the world. We are also able to chat about what’s going on in the field of prosthetics.

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why?
George Burns; he was a great comedian, had a great outlook on life, and always looked to the future. He even had a contract to play at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for his 100th birthday.

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
Going to Madison Square Garden with my wife to see Elton John in concert.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
The gift that keeps on giving is to go and educate, so I would have to say educating my colleagues, and the families that I work with. I’d also say looking out for the environment and helping injured wild life.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
I think there’s a variety of great material on here and I enjoy it all!

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
I would say the Charity and Event column because I really have a passion for charitable work and helping others.

Have you drank The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not?
I haven’t had the opportunity to try it, but I would definitely like to (the non-alcohol version).

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I enjoy playing the spoons! I learned how to play growing up in Ireland. I also enjoy playing the mandolin, banjo, and other string instruments.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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