Robert “Bob” Sprague PT MA PhD GDMT FAAOMPT – The Original Founder of MAPS

Bob was born in Bayshore, NY in 1931 and received both his Physical Therapy Certificate in 1952 and his Master degree in Science 1958 from Columbia University, in New York, NY.  In 1966 he received his PhD in Physical Education, specializing in Adaptive Education in Rehabilitation from the University of Iowa.  Dr. Sprague served three years as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Air Force in Greenville SC (1952-1955), and from 1970-1972 he served as the APTA NYS Chapter President. He later held the position of Professor and Department Head of the Division of Physical Therapy at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY from 1978 to 1986.

Studying the Maitland Approach in Adelaide, Australia.  In 1979 Bob and his wife Cindy sold their house and moved to the “other side of the world” to attend one of the first offerings of a new program in manual therapy taught by Geoff Maitland in Adelaide, Australia.  As one of the first GDMT graduates, Bob was “blown away” by the simplicity and complexity of the Maitland approach.  The logic of the process was to change the course of Bob’s career.

The Founding of CPEA (later MAPS).  Upon his return to the USA, at the urging of Geoff Maitland, Bob began teaching 2 and 3 day workshops on the “Maitland Concept”.  Bob and his wife Cindy (also a PT) founded Cayuga Professional Education Associates (CPEA) in 1985 to accomplish this task.  Bob travelled widely in doing so, and never forgot to take his golf clubs with him!  In 1999 Bob selected Chris Showalter to take over CPEA, which would eventually be renamed Maitland Australian Physiotherapy Seminars (MAPS).  Geoff Maitland’s common sense, yet innovative reasoning model, and Bob’s obvious competence as both a clinician and teacher, were instrumental in the widespread adoption of the “Maitland Approach” in the USA.

A Long and Distinguished Career.  The consummate clinician, Dr. Sprague continued to treat patients well into his seventies, resulting in over 45 years of patient care.  He authored a number of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and was a steadfast proponent of “Clinical Reasoning” and the value of the patient’s perspective.  Bob and his wife Cindy retired to a golf community in McCormick, SC in 2000, but Bob continued to be involved in MAPS as both an Instructor and Educational Director.  Unfortunately, Bob lost his battle with Glial Cell Sarcoma in 2008, after a number of years fighting and suffering with fibro sarcoma and resultant progressive lower limb amputations.  Bob is survived by his wife Cindy and his seven children.  Bob’s wonderful sense of humor and uncomplicated approach to patient management, and in fact, all aspects of life, left an indelible impression on those fortunate enough to have known and loved him.  He is sadly missed by the entire physical therapy community, but his legacy lives on through MAPS.

Bob Sprague Memorial Award Established.  To recognize Bob’s enormous contribution to Orthopedic Manual Therapy in the USA, MAPS founded the “Bob Sprague Memorial Award” in 2009. This award is presented, “To acknowledge and honor an individual who has consistently exhibited excellence in the advancement and application of the Maitland-Australian approach to clinical reasoning and patient management.” To date, this award has been presented to senior MAPS instructors Jody Musick, Chris Greetham and Trish Fong.