Grayson Sossamon was our speaker today. He holds the special place of being the first student ever to sign up for our school, having started as a seventh grader in 2013! Grayson is attending Coastal Carolina University and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science. He is currently looking at graduate schools and pursuing an eventual degree in Physical Therapy.

Grayson works with a research professor in his CCU department studying the use of Blood Flow Restriction in exercise. Their work together gave him the unique opportunity to present at a scientific conference in Greenville recently. He showed us the poster of their experimental study. “It’s the exact same as a science fair project,” he said. “So whatever Dr. Neubauer is teaching you is for real!”

Grayson explained that restricting blood flow to certain groups of muscles can intensify exercise without making it hard on the heart. “The body is kind of tricking itself,” he told us. BFR is used for people who have cardiovascular problems–patients with heart disease can lift less weight and still get all the benefits of weight-lifting without straining themselves. The trick is finding the sweet spot where gains are maximal and risk to the patient is minimal.

Grayson told us that BFR is already being used successfully in many PT gyms but that people should only use it under the guidance of a professional.

Grayson started out as a test subject for the BFR research and found it fascinating and helpful to his own fitness. He then jumped at the chance to work with a professor involved in the research who needed an assistant. He ended up deciding to become a physical therapist! Grayson will graduate this May. We are very proud of him and it was delightful to see him back on campus.