Leaning forward in intense concentration, his brow becomes deeply furrowed as he rests his head on his hands. Ashwin Datt does this hundreds of times each day, putting every ounce of energy into being completely present in the moment. In our world, not many are willing to give their full attention to another human being, but Ashwin says, “I have found if you truly listen to someone, they will tell you quite clearly what is causing their pain.”
There are many other remarkable things about this man and his life. He has been able to use his incredible gift for healing as owner and Clinical Physical Therapist at Great Basin Physical Therapy and Performance Center in Minden since 2010. People come to the center because they have been hurt in an accident, just had surgery, or suffered some other trauma to their body.
Ashwin and his staff generate such a promising, hopeful attitude that, although patients are there because they are suffering, the positive atmosphere is actually palpable. You can feel it the minute you walk in the door. Therapy dogs Dash, Kaiser, Piper, and the new puppy Copper help to set the mood, making everyone smile.
Born into an extremely close family, Ash is the oldest of three overachievers. His mother and father immigrated from the Fiji Islands, so he and his siblings are first generation. Each of them have chosen occupational fields where they can truly make a difference.
He inherited a strong athleticism from his father, who played soccer for the San Jose Earthquakes. Ash snowboards, surfs, and also played soccer in college until he broke his tibia. His personal injuries have given him experiential knowledge, amplifying his own innate empathy.
Growing up in Monterey and Carmel, he fell in love with physical therapy and sports medicine when he was just a junior in high school, volunteering at a local community college football games and practices. His teachers said he was “a natural.”
He graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in human movement studies in 2003. He continued on to the University of the Pacific receiving his doctoral degree. He has extensive and ongoing training in manual therapy and therapeutic exercise. He is constantly learning: his creative mind always open to new ideas.
Ash is certified in Integrated Manual Therapy with Great Lake Seminars and Functional Manual Reaction through the Gray Institute. He did a long residency to become Fellows of Applied Functional Science. He is a golf professional specialist through the Gray Institute® and Nike Golf®. He is also a Certified Clinical Instructor for the American Physical Therapy Association, assistant teaching for Great Lake Seminars around the country.
He moved to Tahoe for his transition year, making lifelong friends, and putting down his roots. His attitude is inclusive, welcoming others for who they are with a deep respect.
His mother and sister, feeling it was time he was married, secretly put him on a matrimonial website. At first he balked at the idea, but only until he saw the photo of the beautiful Monica. The minute Ash saw her stepping off the plane the first time they met, he said, “I’m going to marry this girl!” They eloped a short time later.
Monica Datt is the cornerstone of his life, working with him as a Physical Therapy Assistant. Ash says he “couldn’t have done any of this without her: she is always on my side.” They have two children, Ellie and Nathan, who light up the center with their joy every time they come in to visit.
His family taught him faith, which he feels is an essential component to a life well lived. They taught him to always do the right thing, there are consequences from every choice you make, and to put others ahead of yourself. Ash lives these virtues with a powerful generosity. He and Monica are passing this on to their own children now. Like their parents, they want what is best for their family.
Although traditional PT school is rigid, and has a standardized formula, Ash has found that physical therapy, in and of itself, is not rigid at all. “You have to look and really evaluate,” he said, “thinking outside the box is acknowledging that everyone’s body is different.” He approaches each person as a unique individual.
Initially, he had “big desires” to open a series of centers, but has found Carson Valley to contain everything he has ever needed or wanted. He has an amazingly dedicated staff who are fun, diligent, and extremely skilled. He is high energy, and requires little sleep. His mind is always busy, yet he exudes an inner calm that comes from a deep sense of peace, and of true gratefulness.
Great Basin has been honored as the Best Physical Therapy Center for seven of the last ten years by The Record-Courier. Their focus is on truly improving people’s quality of life, and they are very successful at this lofty goal.
Specializing in orthopedics, sports rehabilitation, post surgical, functional training, aquatic therapy, manual therapy and spinal rehabilitation, their website is www.greatbasinpt.com. Ashwin can best be described as being “fiercely compassionate”. He has professional athletes who fly in from all over the world, knowing he is the finest in his profession. Carson Valley is fortunate to have a Physical Therapist and Center of this caliber.