Therapist Rob Ross still has the look of an Athlete
By Owen Canfield, Register Citizen
Physical therapist Rob Ross, at 60, looks like he could still step in and guard the goal for Ray Reid’s UConn men’s soccer team, as he did in the 1970s for the late Joe Marrone’s teams. Ross’s business card notes that he is the certified chief therapist at Maletta Pfeiffer & Associates at 245 Alvord Park Road in Torrington. He’s the senior guy there, having been at this PT game for 29 years. “I’m a clinical guy,’’ he said, “And I love treating patients.’’ Those patients are glad he loves his work because Ross and the staff at Pfeiffer’s seem always to be busy. All of them appear to have just the right touch and proper approach. They put patients at ease as they put them through therapy. The business is owned by Rich Boulli and Dan Albanese, the two managing partners, both outstanding physical therapists. Ross and his brother Larry once owned the business, which was called Torrington Physical Therapy Center, for 16 years.
Ross grew up in Norwalk and attended Brien McMahon High School. McMahon was a fierce soccer rival of Staples High in Westport. Ross has entertaining tales to tell about the rivalry. “I was 16 when I started soccer. I liked the game but I didn’t like to run, so I became a goalie,’’ he said. “I attended a week-long soccer camp in Mount Ascutney, Vermont. It was very well run and a lot of fun and I learned a lot about goaltending from a coach named Jim Dyer.’” He spoke of playing for a team at Norwalk’s Calfpaspur Beach, which he called a “hotbed of soccer” before he before he became a student-athlete at UConn. “UConn costs a thousand dollars a year at that time, plus room and board,” he said. Marrone’s soccer teams were blossoming into national contenders. (They would win the national championship in 1981). “Joe was terrific and a great influence on me,” Ross said. “He didn’t recruit international players at that time. He wanted to build from within the U.S. "At that time frosh played a freshman schedule but in the spring we were given the chance to try out for the varsity, so I made the team as a sophomore. Eventually, I became the starter in goal. Something happened in 1977, his senior year at UConn, that had a strong bearing on his future working life. He sustained a fracture in his neck. “I had extensive rehab and that planted the (physical therapy) seed in my head,” he said. Obviously, he followed through on it. But ’77 was a very tough year for Ross on the soccer field because he had to sit on the bench with his injured neck and watch. “I was captain, too,’’ he remembered. “The team went 9-11-1, the only losing season Joe Marrone ever had.” Rob and Lori Ross have two children. Myles is a music teacher at Worthington Hooker Middle School in New Haven. Hailey is a student at UConn – loves it there – and plays on a club water polo team.
Rob says working in the town in which he lives suits him perfectly. “Some people don’t like that,” he said. “But I enjoy it. It’s fun to bump into a patient or former patient, say, in a store, and say, ‘How’s the knee?’ or something. And now it’s gotten to the place where I’m treating the children of some people I worked on many years ago. It’s very rewarding.”