Many kids play competitive sports all year long. With all of that physical wear and tear, it’s important for athletes to learn how to take care of their bodies and prevent injuries.
Interested in an off-season conditioning program for her daughter’s Ohio Premier travel lacrosse team, Kristi Kerrigan contacted LifeCenter Plus in Hudson. “Akron Children’s Hospital offers physical therapy at LifeCenter, but I didn’t know about the injury prevention program,” she said. “I contacted Akron Children’s – and their physical therapists customized a conditioning and injury prevention program for our lacrosse team.”
Competitive Advantage Now is an Akron Children’s sports performance and wellness program for kids in middle and high school. The program helps athletes improve their mobility, strength and overall health – while reducing injury risk.
“We tailored a nine-week clinic for Ohio Premier lacrosse to improve the way the girls run, cut and jump,” said Physical Therapist Dave Gabriel. Dave is certified in the SportsmetricsTM program aimed at reducing injuries and boosting athletic performance. “Every week, the girls underwent a dynamic warmup period, followed by jump training, speed and agility drills, strength and flexibility training.”
The training sessions kicked off with baseline testing. “We put sensors on the athletes and recorded their drop jumps, single leg squats and single leg hops,” Dave explained. “We uploaded the videos to the Sportsmetrics app that helped us analyze the girls’ movements, so we could provide customized feedback for each athlete.”
For example, Dave and his team studied knee separation when the athletes jump and land. “An increased inward collapse at the knee – combined with poor shock absorption and poor trunk control during cutting, twisting and landing – are factors that lead to increased risk for knee injury,” he shared. “After completing eight weeks of training, one session a week, we tested the girls again. Their angles of inward knee collapse decreased, on average, by 8 degrees. A higher angle has been linked to increased knee injury, so this decrease is great!”
Brian Finkenthal’s daughter plays for Ohio Premier and participated in Competitive Advantage Now. “This is an active group of kids – they play sports all year long,” he said. “The program taught the girls how important dynamic stretching is because you can’t just show up and start playing. The girls improved their flexibility and put their bodies in a better position to compete in all of the sports they play.”
Kristi’s older daughter battled sports injuries, so she hopes her younger daughter will avoid similar issues. “Competitive Advantage Now was even better than I expected,” Kristi said. “The girls learned how to have better control of their bodies, land correctly and prevent injuries. Getting to participate as a team only enhanced their experience. It was a slam dunk.”
To learn more about Competitive Advantage Now, call 330-543-0566.