Teaching All the Right Moves

Julie and Maury HashidaPlayed without protective gear, rugby can be a punishing sport, as Maury Hayashida ’95 knows well. Growing up in Zambia, he competed on the rugby field and started Westmont’s club team. This background, and an internship in physical therapy his junior year, awakened an interest in rehabilitation. He majored in kinesiology at Westmont and earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Western University. In 2002 he opened Hayashida and Associates, a physical therapy practice in Santa Barbara.

“It’s challenging and rewarding to teach people to move correctly,” he says. “I like the hands-on work, and it allows me to spend time with people.”

Providing physical therapy for the USA Rugby team, which represents the country at international tournaments, unites Maury’s passions. Rugby becomes an Olympic sport in 2016 and may be included in the London games in 2012. If so, Maury might attend with the team.

High-level competition won’t be a new experience for him. In 2008, he spent a year in Italy as the athletic trainer for the professional team Rugby Viadana. Maury had been consulting with the players, visiting for a few weeks at a time. “Spending a year with the team allowed me to make a bigger impact,” he says. “Physical therapy is more advanced in the United States, and the coach wanted me to work with the athletes over a longer period of time.”

The whole family went, and Julie Wetsel Hayashida ’96 found the experience more challenging than she expected. She had traveled extensively, participating in Westmont’s Europe semester, a Mayterm trip to Sri Lanka, Potter’s Clay and a short-term mission in Honduras. But she never lived overseas like Maury did. She didn’t have time to learn any Italian before they left, which she regrets.

“Being in Italy helped me understand what it’s like to move to a country where you can’t speak the language,” she says. Her son, Caden, who was 5, went to an American school where classes were in English but meetings and handouts were in Italian. No one spoke English at 2-year-old Maya’s preschool. “It’s frustrating when you can’t talk to your children’s teachers,” she says.

Julie grew to love the experience and Italian culture and hopes for another opportunity to live overseas . “I’ll be more prepared and expect it to be hard,” she says. “But things that are worthwhile are often hard.”

Communication is important to Julie; she majored in communication studies and worked in marketing and public relations before having children. She always wanted to live in Washington, D.C., and spent a year in the White House social office. “It was a wonderful experience,” she says. “I felt like I was a part of history.” She now helps Maury with the business side of his practice.

Julie and Maury consider their time at Westmont to be some of the most formative years of their lives. For Maury, the son of missionary seminary professors, it was a “God-ordained place to make the transition to American culture.”

Maury now teaches three kinesiology classes a year at Westmont as an associate professor, and he spends three days a week working with student athletes who are injured or want to improve their performance. He enjoys combining clinical work and teaching and looks forward to doing research with students in the biomechanics lab. “I love the science of helping people move better,” he says. “It’s great to be back at Westmont where I discovered my career.”

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