Alumni spotlight: Richard S. Green, M.S.P.T.’92

Rich Green

Rich Green, M.S.P.T.’92, has served as the as Director of Medical Services for the IMT Des Moines Marathon, striving to ensure a healthy race day for thousands of participants. As a DMU alumnus, he plugged into his alma mater to engage students in a volunteer opportunity that allowed them practice their skills on race day. [Related: DMU turns IMT Des Moines Marathon Recovery Zone purple.] Green shared his path to getting involved in this signature Des Moines event: 

How did you get connected with the IMT Des Moines Marathon?

Green: Chris Burch [IMT Des Moines Marathon Race Director] and I were members of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute (GDMLI) Class of 2006. The initial retreat meeting for GDMLI was the Friday of marathon weekend. One of the requirements for the GDMLI retreat was to turn all cell phones into the leader for the day. The first-time race director without a cell phone for like 6 hours was quite a sight! He adapted fairly well until the lunch break when he had 72 calls to return.

I had some observations about the medical plan from when I ran the event as a participant and we had several discussions which led to my involvement with this race. A decade later, we have evolved into the premier distance event in Iowa and a destination event for many runners across the country.

Are you a distance runner?

Green: I have completed several half marathons including the IMT Des Moines (before I was involved) Grandmas in Duluth, Quad Cities, and Dam to Dam.

How did DMU prepare you to contribute to events like the Marathon?

Green: The Physical Therapy curriculum (back in the day) focused on a student becoming an independent thinker and having the confidence to make a mistake, learn and move on. Being able to have a plan and make adjustments on the fly is one of the necessary attributes of large event coverage. Just as all of the study and prep work creates a solid patient experience at the time of the visit, most of the work for the races is done in the months leading up to the race and race day is about execution and being flexible enough to adapt to the circumstances.

Why is it important for DPT students to gain experience outside the classroom?

Green: I can remember the difference in palpating on lab partners in class and then experiencing an actual patient with a cervical facet issue or positive Lachman’s test. It makes quite an impact. The more one palpates, feels and experiences in real life situations, the better one becomes at determining normal from abnormal. For these students to palpate the inflamed tissues of an endurance runner in the acute phase will only help them build on the virtual toolbox.

How does DMU’s presence at the Race make an impact?

Green: For one, the sea of purple in the recovery zone was awesome! Every year, the runners will remark at how the experience at the IMT Des Moines marathon compares and, many times, outpaces the bigger races. The attention to detail, such as the services provided in the recovery zone, is a huge contributor to that experience. When advance personnel such as DO/DPT/DPMs are available to asses and provide management for issues after the race, it is value added.

How can alumni & students connect with you in your new professional role?

Green: I have been named the Director of Physical and Hand Therapy for The Des Moines Orthopedic Surgeons. We are committed to providing patients with the best orthopedic experience as possible. This includes acute care at our Urgent Injury Clinic, to assessment by our Physicians to treatment by our PTs and Hand Therapist and if necessary surgery to address each need. The really cool part about this group is that they are truly committed to the collaborative effort and want to share and interact with the PTs and Hand Therapist. You cannot find a better learning and development environment for all clinicians. My email is

Testimonial from Chris Burch, the IMT Des Moines Marathon Race Director:

“As the race director for the IMT Des Moines Marathon, one of my first priorities is to build a great team and to expect the best. Not only for a successful race day, but for the 364 days of planning that make for a successful race. Rich Green provides a level of leadership and insight to the IMT Des Moines Marathon race committee that allows us to put our emergency and medical contingency plan in position for proper execution on race day. Not everyone crosses the finish line. It is our responsibility to make sure we are prepared for those that don’t so that they have a chance to cross the finish line at their next race.”

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