Kelly Calabrese: Groundbreaking Massage Therapist

Published: 06th October 2008
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Almost anyone has heard about the field of massage therapy and understands the basics of what a massage actual is. Yet how many can recall even three widely known massage therapists off of the top of their heads? After some ill-advised comments directed at her expense, one such masseuse, Kelly Calabrese found herself suddenly becoming one of the industries most publicized therapists. Now what was said and exactly who is Kelly Calabrese?

While still attending a Cleveland massage school in 1995, Calabrese was given a patient that was interested in a sports massage. Impressed with the massage, the client referred Calabrese to a few of his friends, some of which suited up for MLB for the Cleveland Indians. While completing her course Calabrese continued to massage many of the Cleveland Indians. After a trade landed a few 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 skills and she picked up a few additional baseball clients. One of these players was a 1st baseman named Ryan Klesko.

Ryan asked Kelly to move out to San Diego to continue massaging him and perhaps other ballplayers. A big risk was taken, as she left her practice in Cleveland and headed out to sunny San Diego, California. For the 2001 and 2002 seasons Kelly began building up a new practice along with giving part-time massages for some of the San Diego Padres, the team that Ryan Klesko was traded to. As feedback and evidence of her masssage ability began to surface Padres head trainer, Todd Hutcheson, offered Calabrese a full-time position at 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 she goes with the team on road trips. Kelly Calabrese's role with the Padres was kept largely out of the press, aside from a few local interviews and stories here and there. This began changed in early 2006.

Ex-baseball player and the New York Mets television color commentator Keith Hernandez made the following comments upon watching a replay of Calabrese giving players congratulations 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,"

The Mets organization later apologized for the comments.

While at first glance this action should be construed as sexist, they did ultimately have a positive impact on massage therapy in general, women masseuses in non-traditional roles and for Kelly Calabrese herself.

In media interview upon interview conducted by the press on many of Calabrese's patients including the players the reviews were positive.

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."

These are just some of the positive comments that Kelly received.

Recently Kelly changed her title to "sports therapist" from the original title of massage therapist, as it fits her role more appropriately.

Under any name the public awareness that Kelly Calabrese created for women and massage therapists as a group has gone a long way in breaking down any misconceptions and prejudices that have existed.
The following article meshed together two different but oddly related fields, Massage Therapy and Baseball. Massage Therapy Ontario is the destination for massage therapy information in Ontario and all of Canada. For your baseball needs you can visit the ESPN featured blog Mopupduty.com Baseball

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