Friday, December 15, 2017

Prevent injury and improve performance with sport specific analysis

January 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured Articles

By Nicolette House

Imagine having the ability to predict which injuries might befall certain athletes. If these injuries could be prevented think of all the time saved. Instead of sitting a season out in recovery mode, athletes could spend their days perfecting their skills. When it comes to dealing with injury, many athletes leave doctors’ offices with “If only….” floating through their minds.

Injury is so common in the sports world today. According to hospital statistics, approximately 3.5 million children under the age of 14 are injured while playing sports every year. Just enter any facility and expect to see athletes icing, limping, or having to take a break from the sport all together.

It’s possible for athletes to recover from injury, but preventing it from happening in the first place is the simplest way to ensure an athlete’s successful future.

Enter Linda Tremain, physical therapist extraordinaire. She specializes in caring for athletes involved in performance sports and has helped hundreds prevent injury and improve their performance through sport specific analysis.

“I hate telling kids that they’re going to have to sit out for four weeks or three months. I’d rather work with them in an injury prevention mode”, says Tremain.

However, the age old question remains- how do we prevent athletes from getting injured? Simply being involved in athletics increases the risk of getting hurt.

Athletes, coaches, and parents need to keep in mind that certain sports are more prone towards certain injuries. Knowing what these are and knowing your potential risk will help athletes understand what s they need to do to avoid injury.

That’s where Tremain’s work stands out. She has extensively studied the bodies of football players, dancers, and figure skaters. While she notes that all sports have common themes, the importance of a tight core for one, Tremain understands that different sports require different types of strength and flexibility.

Tremain’s sports specific analysis indentifies weak links in an athlete’s body. Through a series of tests Tremain can determine what areas of the body are prone to injury and need work. In doing so, she has the ability to predict where injury could occur. She doesn’t even need to be at the rink to know what issues a skater may be having, although watching videos can be a big help as well.

“Doing sport specific analysis I can tell how a skater skates. I can tell them, I bet your spirals aren’t very good; I bet you have difficulty checking you’re landings. They say, ‘how do you know’. Having worked with so many kids over the years I can pretty much tell if there are specific problems,” says Tremain.

Once the athlete’s strengths and weak links have been identified Tremain gets to work, outlining an off ice routine for them to practice daily.

“I’m not going to give athletes exercises for the things they do well, that’s pointless. I’m going to give them exercises for the things that are holding them back and preventing them from learning the next skill or attaining the one they want,” explains Tremain.

For Tremin, the benefit of sport specific analysis is two fold. She approaches her work from an injury prevention and performance enhancement perspective. Identifying and training the weak links to become stronger can only lead to injury prevention. By gaining strength of flexibility, athletes can improve the maneuvers that previously plagued them.  That’s’ the performance enhancement piece.

“They go hand in hand”, says Tremain.

Common injuries in figure skating

  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Low back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain- tight hips hindering a skater’s ability to do spread eagle

Linda Tremain graduated from the University of Iowa Physical Therapy School in 1986 and obtained her certificate in athletic training in 1990.  In 1997, she was trained by Romana Krysanowska to teach pilates.  She also completed a master’s degree in Biblical Studies at Wheaton College in 2011. Linda, a former collegiate gymnast, was a medical team member for the US World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow and the US World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Budapest.  She worked extensively at the Olympic Ice Skating Center in Lake Placid as well as on several Cirque Du Soleil shows including Verekai, Delirium, La Nouba, Mystere, and “O.” Recently retired from a clinical career in orthopedics, manual therapy, and sports medicine, Linda now intends to focus her professional career on performance enhancement, injury prevention, and education for figure skaters and coaches. Outside of work, Linda and her husband, Gary, run a ministry in downtown Aurora, IL called Mission Possible.  There, Linda volunteers as the Director of Free Healthcare to a community in desperate need of medical services including medical, dental, vision, and orthopedic care.  See www.onjesusmission.org to learn more about this important work.

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