"It is amazing the unique way the staff works as a whole unit. You have created a terrific environment where hard work and fun made my visits with Bodycentral a totally positive experience!" - E. Campbell
I've heard it all too often "If I had just listened to my body and got help, I might have made it in MLB."
Ask Blake Eager his story and he will tell you "I wish I had this type of evaluation and treatment available to me when I was pitching". Blake pitched for the NY Mets organization and had a career ending injury. Currently he is coaching with Hills Baseball and works with Bodycentral Physical Therapy to keep pitchers healthy while improving performance. He also works with the Baseball and Softball Sports Physical Therapists at Bodycentral with video analysis of pitchers.
Too often we are seeing more and more career ending injuries that could have been prevented if they had been treated in the early stages. There are many things that can cause injury in baseball and softball players, but overuse tends to be the creator of most long term problems. Some of the things we know about pitchers in particular:
1) Bad Pitching Mechanics have been linked to overuse and breakdown injuries- Players should get a good foundation at a younger age so as they mature and start throwing harder, their bodies are in optimal alignment with pitching. Simple things like a stride length that is too short can cause problems in the elbow and anterior shoulder. A pitching coach that understands the optimal pitching mechanics is essential.
2) Weakness in the Rotator Cuff and Scapular Muscles- Let's face it- There's nothing "natural" about the pitching motion. It's a whirlwind of stressors on the body that requires a huge Braking system. Pitchers create momentum and have to slow it down and stop it as the pitch is released. This requires massive amounts of strength and control. If the rotator cuff (muscles in the shoulder) is weak or out of its perfect ratio in regards to strength, then the pitcher is asking for trouble. Weakness in the shoulder blade muscles also is a major disadvantage. You wouldn't want the brakes to go out on your car---that would cause a crash or massive destruction. The same is true in the rotator cuff and scapular muscles- these are the brakes. If these are too weak or aren't working to their potential--- the pitcher is headed for a crash....or Tommy John surgery or worse. Working with a PT specializing in baseball and softball injuries is key to find these specific issues and get them corrected!
3) Training and Throwing Schedule is Out of Control- More is better right? Pitch more, get better, faster...WRONG. More is better works for cheese on your pizza....but with pitching, more can be just that...More. More pain, More breakdown, More overuse injuries. A balance must be achieved between work and rest so the body can recover. Pushing through fatigue or pain is a bad idea. Throw one more pitch today----lose that Major League career tomorrow. Getting a balanced pitch and recover plan is essential.
4) Weakness in the Lower Body and Core- Show me a pitcher with elbow pain and I'll show you a pitcher that has lower body weakness. Pitching starts with the control and strength in the legs and transfers to the core. Pitchers with lower body weakness break down sooner and pitching mechanics suffer. If you have a pitching related injury, you need the entire body evaluated (Not just the part that hurts). Patients look at me crazily at times when they have shoulder pain and I'm testing the Left hip strength.....it's related...truly.
So What can you do if you want to pitch faster, get better at the craft.....but also decrease your chances of injury?
Bodycentral and Blake Eager have combined forces to provide the components for this recipe to success. Kenzie Fowler has joined forces with Bodycentral for Fastpitch Softball Players that want the same--- better performance, and decrease risk.
The Elite Baseball and Elite Softball Programs available at Bodycentral Physical Therapy Include:
1) Injury Treatment- If there has been an injury, our Sports Physical Therapists with treat the area prior to any performance training. Most of this is eligible for insurance coverage. Hands on treatments like instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, dry needling and other strategies are combined with rehabilitation exercises.
2) Injury Prevention Strategies- Our team of Sports Physical Therapists and Conditioning Specialists combine to provide preseason risk screens for teams. We recently screened players in Canyon View Little League as part of the safety program in their league. Strength training, and other strategies are included in these packages. Many of these services are provided free to organizations on a first come- first serve basis. Please email Jennifer Allen for more information or to have your group screened. mailto:email@example.com
3) The Elite Plan- This is the big one. This is for reducing injury risk and improving overall performance. This is what you would expect to see at the professional level of play. This includes video analysis of pitching, a full Medical Musculoskeletal head to toe evaluation as well as a strength and conditioning program developed specifically for the athlete. These evaluations are baseball and softball specific, and will highlight problems associated with pitching. With this evaluation, we find the areas that are potential trouble makers and get that addressed before they contribute to injury. Blake Eager and Kenzie Fowler are involved with this evaluation process so they bring Player and Coach insight into the Plan. They evaluate pitching from the coaching perspective and give players specific drills to improve in this area.
For More Information on these programs or to sign up- mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jennifer Allen is a Board Certified Sports Specialist and heads the Baseball/Softball sports medicine team at Bodycentral Physical Therapy. She is the creator of the Elite Baseball and Softball programs at Bodycentral Physical therapy, and lectures in the areas of Biomechanics and Baseball/Softball injuries. She worked with the Arizona Heat Women's Professional Fastpitch Softball team in Tucson, AZ, and currently volunteers as the Canyon View Little League Safety Officer. For more information visit: http://www.BodycentralPT.net
It's that time of year again... The smell of the freshly cut grass, the feel of the smooth dirt of the infield. It's baseball and softball season, and with that comes too many preventable injuries. I was lucky to play softball in college, and I consider those days some of the best days of my life.
For many young baseball and softball players, injuries prevent them from enjoying the game. Some injuries are traumatic- a catcher and a runner collide at high speeds.....a head first slide into second base doesn't go well. But many other injuries are a result of overuse- throwing too much or too hard too soon. Others come as a result of playing year round without rest. Injuries can also be a result of poor mechanics or muscle imbalances in the body- not just in the arm or shoulder, but from the hip or low back as well. Many injuries happen when players attempt to return to play after a surgery or injury- coming back to play without a structured return to throwing program, or coming back with weaknesses.
For many years we have studied biomechanics- learning how elite level pitchers deliver that 90+ mile an hour fastball. Now we are looking at more factors- not just how to improve speed or control...but how do we work with pitchers and throwers to help them perform better AND without injury? Elbow and Shoulder injuries are ending promising careers for many baseball and softball players...and our youngest players are seeing more and more injuries.
At Bodycentral Physical Therapy, we have teamed up with some of the best Baseball and Softball professionals to develop programs that will help prevent injuries and that will help get players safely back on the field with less risk of re-injury. In addition to these programs, we have developed performance enhancement programs that can help take players to the next level- utilizing high speed video analysis, 3D bat swing analysis, and a structured individualized strength and mobility program.
Our Partners include:
Blake Eager- former MLB NY Mets Pitcher, Olympic Baseball Coach
Kenzie Fowler- former University of Arizona elite standout pitcher, USA National Elite Team
Kelly Fowler- Head Coach Canyon del Oro High School, Pima County Sports Hall of Fame
On Saturday, February 14th from 9AM-11AM at the Ultimate Sports Asylum, we will be presenting on Baseball and Softball Injury prevention, treatment, and performance enhancement strategies. Blake Eager, Kenzie Fowler, Kelly Fowler, Dr. Sarah Davin (Board Certified Clinical Specialist- Sports Physical Therapy) and I will be presenting a combination of lecture, demonstration, and active participation- topics include Biomechanics, Video Analysis, Injury Prevention ....and much more.
Seating is limited- Please contact Paula via email to make your reservation---- Paula@BodycentralPT.net
Coaches, Athletic Trainers, Athletic Directors, Physicians, Health Care Providers, Press, Parents, Players--- All are welcome to attend. Admission is FREE- but a reservation is required!
Location: Bodycentral Physical Therapy- Ultimate Sports Asylum. 1991 E Ajo Way, Ste 149 (At Kino/Ajo intersection behind the In&Out Burger)
Hope to see you there.
With all the recent news coverage and sports medicine updates on Concussion management, it is becoming clearer to all of us that concussions are a serious concern to our athletes.
What is a concussion?
It is a traumatic brain injury that happens with a rapid motion of the head, or a direct blow to the skull. Some athlete's have described this as getting their bell "rung" or other similar descriptions. Athletes of all ages are at risk for concussions, and different sports have varying degrees of risk. Most people think of the NFL and football when we talk about concussions, but it doesn't stop there.
Why are female athletes more at risk?
There are some theories to explain why concussion rates for female athletes are higher than their male counterparts, but at the time of this writing there hasn't been any hard evidence to prove any of these.
Some possible reasons: 1) Female athletes may be better at reporting their symptoms and seeking help 2) Females have a smaller mass of the head and neck, making it more difficult to absorb the injury 3) Females may have less developed neck muscles, which may lead to less control of the head during impact
Preventing and Treating Concussions
Prevention is KEY. Talking to coaches, athletic trainers, parents, athletes, Physical Therapists and others about the importance of concussions and ways to prevent them. Some of these prevention strategies include wearing the right protective gear, playing by the league rules, and making sure athletes are conditioned properly for their chosen sport.
Recovering correctly from a concussion is serious business. Recovery generally includes a period of "shutting down"- both physically and mentally. Athletes must rest from academics and from athletics-- and that means no video games or cell phones too! The brain needs a period of rest. Following this, the athlete will slowly resume activities under proper guidance of a physician, athletic trainer and physical therapist team. The athlete should only return to activity when formally cleared by the team.
Avoiding re-injury is important too. Studies show that players who have one concussion have a greater chance of having another one. With repeated concussions athletes may experience memory loss and difficulty thinking and concentrating.
What's the Risk?
Soccer- research shows female soccer is second only to male football players for the number of concussions each year. Concussions can be caused by falls, player to player impact, and from heading the ball repeatedly.
Cheerleading- high level techniques like throwing cheerleaders high in the air have led to an increase in concussions in cheerleading
Basketball- player to player contact and hitting the head on the floor may cause concussion
Skiiing/Snowboarding- high speed falls and collisions are potential for concussions
Softball- player to player collisions, sliding, and being hit by a ball are potential for concussions
Volleyball- player to player impact, and being hit by the ball or hitting the head on the court are potential problems
Prevention Strategies at Bodycentral Physical Therapy and the Ultimate Sports Asylum
Because of the prevalence of the concussion problem in female athletes, we are teaming with experts in the field to develop concussion prevention strategies and programs for athletes of all ages. For more information on these programs, please contact Dr. Jennifer Allen at email@example.com