I have always felt some connection with Jackson, Tennessee—possibly because my grandfather was the first chiropractor in Jackson. (For those who might of known him, he was located off 45 down from the Red Cross building.) So in part you could say my roots are here in Jackson.
I was born and raised in Lexington, Tennessee. Growing up, my mom, twin sister, and older brother would load up into a red station wagon and head out to Jackson, listening to Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie” cassette tapes. I still have fond memories of that—hitting the road after church youth events to catch the newest movies, bowling alley, water park, or go karts off of Lambuth.
I graduated high school in 1996 and thought I'd have a great summer doing whatever I wanted. Instead my mom had signed me and my sister up for summer school just to get ahead. Off to Jackson State we went every morning in our red Ford Tempo. We had a great time at JSCC; I met many amazing people and had inspiring teachers I still think highly of today.
Even though I enjoyed my time there, physical therapy school was where I was headed. Sure, I tried to keep my grades up while working at a hometown grocery store, but a higher power was involved when I got the letter that told me I was headed to Memphis for the next two years.
While in school, I would have rotations in different settings: acute, output, rehab, etc. I chose all mine to be local in Jackson, mainly because I wanted a job when I got out of school. I ended up working with West Tennessee Healthcare acute care at the hospital for two years. It was great bouncing floors, treating patients, and talking with all the nurses, but after a while, I decided to do something different. I took a job at the West Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic with the orthopedic doctors, where I also met great folks as well as learned a lot.
After my stent at WTBJ, I came back to the hospital, working out of Jackson Sport and Fitness, and it is here that I found my calling: working with orthopedic physical therapy and sports population. I began interacting with fit people wanting to get back to their fit lives. I also helped on the sidelines with ATC Fitness, learning even more as well as building relationships. I now am program manager at Sports Plus North in the now booming Thomson Farms, where we focus on sports and orthopedic injuries—getting people to achieve better outcomes.
All these years, everything seems to be centered around Jackson. If I look back over all the places of work or even sideline coverage, it all boils down to networking. The people and the places all have been linked together for me to be where I am today. My friends and wife say we can’t go out without running into someone I know. Along with networking, a constant desire to be better drives me. Whether it is in the clinic trying to give each patient what they need or supporting local events and charities, Jackson needs people to realize what we have here to make it better. As Robert F. Kennedy once said, "Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
It's the relationships you build, those connections, that make Jackson what it is: the schools, the fans, the hospital, the churches—even Hot Pop Kettle Corn at the farmers’ market! My wonderful wife and two sweet girls also keep me busy with gymnastics and soccer. Jackson truly boils down to what you make of it. If you can't find happiness right where you are, something may be missing in your life.
“Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.” - Horace
Jay Wentworth is a Lexington High School graduate who attended Jackson State Community College and University of Tennessee Health Science Centers. He enjoys sporting events, hunting, gardening, and spending time with family. Jay now lives in Jackson and works for Sports Plus Physical Therapy and is passionate about supporting Jackson and the families that make it up.