Kelly Calabrese – Groundbreaking Massage Therapist
Most have heard about massage therapy and understand the basic premise of what a massage actual is. Yet how many came name even three widely known massage therapists off of the top of their heads? After some ill-advised comments directed at her expense, one such massage therapist, Kelly Calabrese, found herself overnight becoming one of the industries most publicized practitioners. Now what was said and exactly who is Kelly Calabrese?
While still attending a Cleveland massage school in 1995, Calabrese was given a client that was interested in a sports massage. Duly impressed with the massage, the client referred Kelly to a few of his friends, some of which played major league baseball for the Cleveland Indians. While completing her schooling Calabrese continued to massage some of the Cleveland Indians. After a trade landed some of the players that she massaged in Atlanta, Kelly found herself making trips out to Atlanta to continue massaging some of the players. Word got around in Atlanta of her services and she picked up a few additional players. One of these players was a first baseman named Ryan Klesko.
Klesko asked Kelly to move out to San Diego to continue massaging him and perhaps other ballplayers. Taking a big risk, she left her practice in Cleveland and headed out to sunny San Diego, California. For the 2001 and 2002 seasons Kelly balanced building up a new practice along with doing part-time massage for some of the San Diego Padres, the team that Ryan Klesko was traded to. As feedback and evidence of her healing ability began to surface Padres head trainer, Todd Hutcheson, offered Kelly a full-time position after the conclusion of the 2003 season. Kelly’s role has been to massage and stretch 10 – 15 players a day. She has become the first women ever to gain access to a clubs dugout during games and travels with the team on road trips. Kelly Calabrese’s role with the Padres was kept mostly out of the press, aside from a few local interviews and stories here and there. This all changed in early 2006.
Ex-baseball player and current New York Mets television color commentator Keith Hernandez made the following comments upon witnessing a replay of Calabrese giving players high-fives in the dugout:
“You have got to be kidding me … I won’t say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don’t belong in the dugout,”
Hernandez later apologized for the comments.
While at first glance these comments should be construed as negative, they did end up having a positive impact on massage therapy in general, women masseuses in non-traditional roles and for Kelly Calabrese herself.
In interview upon interview conducted by the press on many of Calabrese’s patients (the San Diego Padres players) the reviews were glowing.
Manager Bruce Bochy said: “Kelly’s a part of this club, part of this training staff, She plays a major role with this club helping guys getting ready for the ballgame.”
Second baseman Eric Young “She was part of the equation that got me back so quick,”
37 year old catcher Mike Piazza “The fact that I am at an advanced age as far as baseball players go, if I didn’t have someone like Kelly treating me every day, I wouldn’t be able to play as much as I have.”
And these are just a few of the positive comments that Kelly has received.
Recently Kelly has had her titled changed to “sports therapist” from her original title as massage therapist, as it fits her role more appropriately.
But under any name, the awareness that Kelly Calabrese has created for females and massage therapists as a whole has gone a long way in breaking down any misconceptions and prejudices that may exist.