Richard Brooks: Doctor by 26

Physical therapist Richard Brooks graduated from Manhattan College's Exercise Science program and earned his doctorate just three years later.

Richard BrooksNot that long ago, Richard Brooks ’07 was just a kid from Queens with a passion for sports and people. Today, the 26-year-old goes by Dr. Richard Brooks, and has put his passions to good use as a physical therapist in Manhattan.

This School of Education and Health graduate credits the intimate Manhattan College community for his accelerated track to success.

“The education at Manhattan is the best. There’s really nothing better,” he says. “It’s a small environment in which everyone really cares, takes an interest in you and looks out for one another.”

Brooks found a home within the Exercise Science department at Manhattan and worked directly with the community to learn about and practice physical therapy.

He took advantage of volunteer opportunities, joining the exercise science fraternity Phi Epsilon Kappa and working with disabled children at the Manhattan College Games, an annual recreational event for locals with special needs.

Brooks later landed an internship at the highly ranked orthopedic Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, an opportunity to practice his skills in a professional setting.

“I learned how to be a leader, be passionate and how to interact with all different types of people,” Brooks says.

I had the greatest group of professors that one could ask for. Even when I was struggling somewhat in classes, they never got down on me. In fact, they picked me up and allowed me to thrive.

In the classroom, it was the same story.

“I had the greatest group of professors that one could ask for. Even when I was struggling somewhat in classes, they never got down on me. In fact, they picked me up and allowed me to thrive.”

After graduating from Manhattan with a tight-knit group of exercise science majors, Brooks attended the New York Institute of Technology to work toward his physical therapy license.

In 2010, he earned his doctorate and wasted no time in launching a career at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University, where he worked with patients suffering from all types of pathologies — from strokes to cancer.

Today, Brooks works one-on-one with patients at a private sports medicine practice in Manhattan, helping those who suffer from shoulder damage, ACL tears and other musculoskeletal injuries.

“I really play a big role in the overall well-being of people, and it feels good to help them out,” he says, hoping to open his own practice some day.

Still local to New York, Brooks returns to Riverdale on occasion to speak at guest lectures, and says he would love to teach later in life to give back to the community that gave him so much.

“I truly believe that my education and experiences have molded me into person that I am today,” Brooks says, with the same passion as the kid from Queens. “The Manhattan College experience is one that I wouldn’t trade for the world.”