Our people: Carlo Galli

Carlo Galli is enthusiastic about his job. Spunky trauma coordinator says his mentors taught him to be the best he can be

By Lisa Dutton

A few weeks ago, I had an “a-ha” moment. I was in a meeting with Trauma Coordinator Carlo Galli and I was sore all over. I had just started back at the gym after a few years of expert couch sitting. I looked up and realized Carlo was the perfect guy to help me work out my kinks and knots. He happily gave me a few moves to make my transition to treadmill warrior easier. That’s just the kinda guy he is.

In fact, one of Carlo Galli’s favourite quotes from Charles Dickens is: “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else.” These are words he lives by.

“As corny as it sounds, I became a physiotherapist to help people be the best they can be. I strive to get the best out my patients by using my knowledge, skill and enthusiasm,” he says.

Which brings us to another of Carlo’s favourite sayings: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” This written by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

One would get the impression that Carlo spends his time reading the classics, but in fact, up until a little while ago, you were more likely see him at the school gym rather than the school library.  

For the past 20 years, he has been an assistant coach on various elite basketball teams, first at the high school level, then CEGEP and even university. He even was the assistant head coach of the Quebec provincial basketball team. He’d be on the court with the kids from Monday to Friday and then at tournaments on the weekend.

“I have two mentors during my life. One of them is Olga Hyrcak. She coaches men’s basketball along with me. She’s the head coach and an amazing lady. Intense. Passionate. But a mum to every single player on the team. She just comes through for the kids,” says Carlo.

Carlo goes on to say that many of the kids on the various teams he’s coached with Ms. Hyrcak are from Montreal’s poorer neighbourhoods. The kids often didn’t have much to eat, so she’d pick food up at local churches. Get them a mattress, TV. Whatever they needed the coach came through.

“A lot of people aren’t really high on these kids. But Olga brings out the best in them. Playing basketball was a means to an education, a way to teach them to be responsible, team players, dedicated, perseverant,” says Carlo.

Over the years, many of the players Carlo coached landed basketball scholarships at U.S. colleges and went on to earn degrees.

As he reflects on his past, Carlo realizes he’s always had female bosses. Which brings him to his second mentor: Debbie Friedman, Director of MCH Trauma Programs.

Carlo, the MCH Trauma Coordinator for the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Return to Sports Program and the MCH Injury Prevention Program says he had always wanted to work at the MCH. Ms. Friedman was his supervisor during his training 18 years ago. At the time, there weren’t really any openings in physiotherapy. But Debbie and Randy Robins were able to bend the rules just a tad in order to create a position for him.

“I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by women who are full of energy, passion and determination,” says Carlo. “Their drive pushes me to be even better.” He says there is a tremendous amount of energy flowing through the MCH Trauma Programs and it’s exhilarating.

Carlo applauds and respects everyone who works at the MCH. The clerks, nurses, cleaners, doctors – he says everyone goes out of their way to lighten the burden of the kids and their families and to help make their lives a little better.

“You visit other hospitals and health centres and you just don’t get the same heartfelt dedication as at the MCH,” says Carlo. “Everyone here is very special.”

Carlo dedicates this article to his beautiful wife Shannon and his two little peanuts Katherine and Liam.