JAG Physical Therapy: Growth through an unlikely motivation

In business, the most dazzling success stories tend to grab our attention. But the truly enriching stories, the ones that stick with us and teach us something valuable, often stem from moments of failure. For John Gallucci Jr., CEO of JAG Physical Therapy, one failure became the bedrock of his 145 physical therapy clinics. 

“Everyone has a story,” says Gallucci. “We all have something that meant something to us, people who helped us become who we are, unfortunate circumstances that shaped our futures.”

Gallucci’s story started with his parents, who owned a surgical supply business in Brooklyn. 

“Mom and Dad were the typical first generation out of Europe family that started a business. I watched them navigate the difficulties and realities of business,” he says. “When I was 20 years old, my parents went bankrupt.” 

It taught him very valuable lessons in navigating the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. He learned that there is no job title impressive enough to make him truly secure, and he had plenty of opportunities to test that belief. 

“When you deal with athletes every day, you’re surrounded by a mentality that you always need to get up. You can’t quit. If you get hurt, you do whatever it takes to heal and come back stronger. You have to fail to succeed.”

Gallucci earned a dual degree in sports medicine and athletic training, and a master’s and doctorate degree in physical therapy. Out of graduate school, Gallucci went to the big leagues – literally. He worked in the Athletic Departments of Columbia University, New York University and Long Island University. He worked part time for the Knicks before joining the New York Red Bulls Major League Soccer team as head athletic trainer.

What would have been, for many, the dream job only motivated him to do more. 

“I watched my parents lose everything, and I’ve been motivated by fear ever since,” he says. “I was an athletic trainer at the highest level, and I still had the fear factor that I could lose my job at any moment. The team could hire a new coach, or change ownership, or replace their general manager, and I’d be out.”

So 20 years ago, he dreamed up his physical therapy clinic in the locker room. He planned to spend a year seeing patients in that same locker room until he could afford his first clinic in West Orange. 

Today, JAG PT has 145 locations throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The company’s offerings have expanded to include a wide range of services, including physical and occupational therapy, robust hand therapy, pelvic health programs, pediatric services, outpatient therapy for musculoskeletal issues, slips/falls, sprains, strains and surgical rehabilitation. None of the growth, he says, was his success alone. 

“I wanted every clinician working alongside me to have opportunities for personal and financial growth,” he says. “In this industry, that comes from opening a clinic.” 

So he encouraged team members to do just that – and even helped give the resources to do it under the JAG PT umbrella. It was a practical decision as much as a motivational one, and it allowed JAG to stay ahead of the curve as healthcare consolidation began to push smaller clinics out of the market. 

“My parents’ didn’t watch the industry closely enough,” says Gallucci. “They didn’t see the bigger picture of what was going on outside of their own four walls until it was too late.”

While each clinician has the opportunity to establish their own vision of how the practice should run, there is one core belief that binds every clinic together.

“We believe in bringing patients to their goals, not the insurance company’s goals,” says Gallucci. “An insurance company may say a patient should walk 10 feet on their own, but if we’re treating a firefighter, or a nurse, or a painter, that’s not enough. They need to be able to run, to jump, to carry a victim out of a fire or repeat paint strokes above their head for seven hours a day.”

That commitment to people extends beyond the clinic and into the community as well. Gallucci has played an important role in major local and national healthcare nonprofits and supports over 100 high schools, college programs and athletic clubs throughout the Tri-State Area.

In growing JAG, he hasn’t left sports completely. Gallucci is the Assistant Chief Medical Officer for Major League Soccer (MLS), overseeing the medical care of more than 1,500 professional soccer players, as well as a Sports Medicine consultant for professional athletes in the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB and USA Wrestling. Sports showed him how to take life lessons and turn them into action. 

“When you deal with athletes every day, you’re surrounded by a mentality that you always need to get up,” says Gallucci. “You can’t quit. If you get hurt, you do whatever it takes to heal and come back stronger. You have to fail to succeed.” 


145 Locations
New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania
(201)-801-7141 | jagpt.com