Where Are You Getting Your Sports Medicine Advice?

I read a great article this weekend in the Health section of the Wall Street Journal titled: “As Sports Medicine Surges, Hope and Hype Outpace Proven Treatments”.  It exposed a very common problem for today’s amateur athletes.

The insightful article written by Gina Kolata gives examples of motivated mature athletes with orthopedic injuries and no clear direction to assist their efforts to get back to their sports.

In an effort to regain their health, the trend is for some desperate athletes to chase expensive fads and unproven recovery techniques.  In doing so, they’re spending way too much money and wasting lots of time.

Deciphering and interpreting the massive amount of sports medicine info available is not easy for anyone.  If you Google search “low back pain” you’ll have 22,200,000 articles to read.  Search for “treating knee tendonitis” and you only have 418,000 websites to peruse. Good luck trying to find a simple solution for the chronic knee pain that keeps you from losing that extra 20 lbs.

Are you looking for simple answers to your sports related injuries?  Sure you do…..and you’re not alone!

Why I Created MRF

Marshall, Director of Enthusiasm

The reason why I created MikeRyanFitness.com is to help people.  Besides, my free sports medicine website has saved me dozens of calls, texts and emails from family and friends from all over the world seeking medical advice.  The MRF website has proved to be helpful in reducing the number of sports medicine questions asked by neighbors while I run with my happy dog Marshall.

MRF is a fun sports medicine resource designed to help optimistic athletes like YOU to avoid both simple and complex injuries.  How many athletes, young and old,  are in need of a easy-to-use sports medicine resource to help them to quickly recover from an orthopedic injury?

It’s more than you can imagine. This website fuses my passion to help people with my passion for sports medicine. I’m lucky that I’ve spent my lifetime doing both.

 Pain Has No Geographic Limits

I’ve received dozens of great emails a month from athletes in pain and highly motivated to get back to the sports that they love.  The emails range from a professional soccer player in Croatia with chronic knee pain following 2 ACL reconstructions and a microfracture surgery to a field hockey player from Tasmania, Australia who was excited to read my article on knee fat pad pain on the MRF website! Injury prevention and promoting sound and proven injury recovery programs is a high priority for MikeRyanFitness.

 Keeping it Simple

My motto for the information provided on MikeRyanFitness.com remains the same:  Provide sports medicine information that is simple to understand, easy to use and it creates FAST results.  I’m a firm believer that this approach helps athletes understand their injury better and allows them to work more effectively with members of their healthcare team.

I’ve learned from over 23 years as a certified athletic trainer/physical therapist in the NFL that if I ask an injured athlete the proper questions, 90% of them are simply trying to find ways to:

1.  Decrease their pain

2.  Enhance their ability to move with less effort

3.  Increase both their muscle strength & joint range of motion

If the sports medicine world were to stay focussed on those goals, athletes at any age would be active and healthier much faster.  I can promise you that MikeRyanFitness will do just that.  Sign up for our newsletter and let me help YOU!

Share the Love

This website is a hobby of mine motivated by my passion to help others to enjoy a lifestyle of positive health and fitness.  In an effort to enhance the lives of 1,000,000 people in the next 2 years, I need your help.  Please take a moment to pass on my message, my website and my information to others for FREE sports medicine info to help improve the quality of their lives.

Thank you for caring to share!

What I Learned in (Training) Camp This Summer

How Ending the NFL Lockout Changed My Perspective on Sports Medicine

Tonight is the first pre-season game of the awoken 2011 NFL season and no one is more excited than yours truly.  The 120+ day NFL lockout stressed the fans, the players, the team owners and the team support staff members like me.

Unable to treat and care for our Jaguars’ players was a strange position for me as I enter my 24th season employed as an athletic trainer and physical therapist in the NFL.

The players have returned to work approximately 3 weeks ago and resumed their sports medicine treatments with my staff and me.  During these two weeks of training camp I’ve learned many valuable lessons.  These lessons have made me a better therapist and will help me improve the quality of the care that I provide for my followers of MikeRyanFitness.com.

My Learning Points:

#1 – Preventative Care Does More Than Prevent Injuries

Most players will tell you that this lockout made it much more difficult to take care of their injuries.  Typically NFL medical staffs address almost all of their rehabilitation needs twelve month a year.  Peyton Manning stressed that point by saying: “…you can’t use your athletic training room and can’t use your athletic trainer” during the lockout and it slowed his recovery from his neck injury.

Elite sports medicine care enhances performance while significantly reducing injuries in athletes, young and old.

#2 – Knee Pain Doesn’t Care How Old You Are

Knee injuries are a big deal in the NFL.  When our players returned and I was able to assess their medical status after 4 months away, it was interesting to see the changes in knee symptoms.

It showed me knee pain in athletes at any age can be controlled effectively when it is addressed on a consistent basis.  Improving joint range of motion, enhancing lower extremity soft tissue mobility and utilizing the proper combination of ice/heat can reduce knee pain for any and all athletes.

#3 – Roller Are Here to Stay

The players that used rollers had better flexibility and less pain then those that didn’t use them.  It was that simple.

Rollers can be used on any part of the body.  It is an easy way to improve the body’s ability to reduce pain and allow muscles to do their job.  I use them on a daily basis with my athletes and myself.  Today’s smart athletes include soft tissue rollers as a valuable tool to stay healthy.

#4 – Fitness is Not a Passive Process

Some players came back in great shape while others didn’t make fitness a high priority.  A normal off-season program provides a well-structured and organized fitness plan for our players.  There is great value in having such a plan for an athlete.

Fitness, even for a young professional football player, just doesn’t “happen”.  In other words, fitness needs to be an active process and the more time spent working on it the greater the yield.

#5 – Flexibility Never Comes Easy

One key point consistently echoed by my players since they returned after the lockout is that they missed having certified athletic trainers available to keep them loose and flexible.  Specific massages, soft tissue treatments and stretching techniques, normally provided to our the players every day, helps to keep their joints loose and flexible.  Without access to these treatments, most of the players returned with worse flexibility than normal.

This point became obvious to me when I looked at my body.  To improve flexibility it takes a consistent effort.  Not necessarily a large amount of time but consistency is the important element to increase the painfree motion of an athlete’s joints and muscles at any age.

Back Where it All Began

Football gets started tonight for me and the Jacksonville Jaguars tonight right where my dream of becoming a NFL athletic trainer and physical therapist began: Foxboro, Massachusetts. Born 30 minutes north of the stadium, I was the wide-eyed kid in the bleacher seat of Schaefer Stadium with my Red Sox hat on screaming for the Patriots.

These past 4 months have made me realize how important the NFL is to me and how blessed I am to be living my childhood dream.  As for that Sox hat, I still have it.  As for my NFL alliance, it’s no longer the Pats.  Nothing personal….