Behind the Lights

Local sports rehabilitation company expands its reach far beyond physical therapy

Not far from the proposed Raiders stadium, a hotbed for sports has begun to develop. Roughly three miles down the street on Dean Martin Drive is one of five Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers locations, which is leading the way in bringing the latest technology and treatment to its physical therapy and fitness patients, from online services to patented products.

Owner Scott Pensivy has built a healing machine, and now it’s part of a national health care behemoth. Fyzical was founded in 2012 and launched nationwide the following year with 10 clinics. Now it serves 36 states with more than 200 centers. After successfully running his own practice—Scott Pensivy Orthopedic Rehabilitation Services (S.P.O.R.T.S.)—since 2007 and being an integral player in his field since moving here nearly 30 years ago, it took about a year of courtship from founder and now business partner Jim Abrams before Pensivy joined the group in 2015. Pensivy now operates and serves as CEO of the five Las Vegas locations, and he still manages to treat patients.

Anthony Mair

Scott Pensivy

For more than 20 years, Pensivy has been healing patients as a physical therapist and licensed athletic trainer. Well known in the world of sports medicine, he’s acknowledged for bringing an added element to health care.

“At the highest level, they all have their personal touch to everything,” says Kenneth “Flex” Wheeler, a three-time Mr. Olympia runner-up in the ’90s. After retiring because of a kidney transplant and other injuries 15 years ago, Wheeler, 52, is currently filming a documentary about his unlikely return to Mr. Olympia, taking place September 14–17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. He’s been seeing Pensivy and his staff for the past few weeks. “He’s a huge asset to help me be able to come back,” Wheeler says. “I wish I would have known about him years ago. It definitely would have made things easier for me.”

Wheeler has joined a long list of high-profile athletes that are in Pensivy and his team’s care, including local stars who’ve made it pro—Xavier Grimble in the NFL, Joey Gallo in the MLB and Scott Piercy in the PGA, to name a few, as well as former and current members of the Golden State Warriors such as Leandro Barbosa, Harrison Barnes and coach Steve Kerr.

The out-of-state

Fyzical franchises have access to Pensivy’s patient practices, treatment protocols and his intellectual property—and there’s a lot. One in particular that has gained a lot of traction since becoming FDA-certified in January is his proprietary pain relief cream, Fyzical 123—Kerr and brand ambassador Olivia Newton-John are regular users. An adapted formula from a version with a different name, Pensivy first started tinkering with creams in 1998.

“I was treating people with fibromyalgia who were in pain all the time,” Pensivy says of his early career. “There wasn’t a topical cream for them; there was nothing good. I knew I could come up with something.”

Anthony Mair

He eventually created his own applicator. It was a fusion of what he learned in Korea— what tools healers there were using—and the Graston Technique, which is a series of instruments used directly on the skin to address scar tissue and fascia restrictions.

“That magic isn’t just the cream; it’s the combo of the applicator and the cream,” Pensivy says. “Together they make the healing properties. The applicator breaks up the scar. It causes friction and heat and stays on longer.”

Another part of the magic is access and education. About twice a month on Saturdays, he and a few other PTs host sessions to discuss best practices as well as to invite certain patients to attend, to either be test cases for other Fyzical employees to learn from or to work out treatment plans if the patient has a complex issue.

“The most important thing is we get our patients better,” Pensivy says. “If I could do it for free, I’d do it free.”

Pensivy has found two ways in which to get more people treated. Fyzical First is his online solution to saving time and money for a patient. By filling out and uploading a picture of the concerned area on a short online application, a patient is contacted within 24 hours and given free medical direction. That means a Fyzical staff member will either suggest that person come in for a free assessment “to be evaluated, treated and educated on the health challenge,” or get a referral to a preferred provider. With Pensivy’s short list of Las Vegas’ best sports medicine doctors, that often means an appointment with a specialist much quicker than a cold call.

Anthony Mair

Scott Piercy receives treatment.

Another solution is his Play It Forward for Kids nonprofit. Children and young adults between the ages of 8–24 without insurance or financial means can get access to free or discounted health care ranging from surgery costs to athletic training and everything in between. The nonprofit even paid for a dentist appointment for an athlete who got his front teeth knocked out. It started as word of mouth but is now accessible through an online application, which is then sent to a board for review. Though they’ve only treated about 50 people so far, Pensivy has a goal of a half million dollars in annual donations to provide access for athletes across the country.

Three-time PGA Tour winner Piercy is one of many athletes and businesspeople who have donated to the nonprofit. A patient of Pensivy’s for nearly 18 years, he says it’s out of respect for Scott. “I always ask him, ‘How can I help?’” Piercy says. “This is how I repay him.”