Monday, December 25, 2017

Make 2018 Be The Year of Change!

In this last series, we asked the question, is an anterior cruciate ligament injury a sports injury or a major life lesson.  Hopefully you get a sense at the conclusion of that series that is is a little of both.  Although it is not just a sports related injury, that is where we see it the most commonly.  But more importantly, it is a life lesson for the athlete, the parent, coach and for us as strength coaches, athletic trainers and physical therapists.  Does it have to be this way?  With almost 80% of ACL injuries being non-contact in orientation, do we just accept this or do we do something about it?  Knowing there are certain movement patterns that put athletes at risk for these injuries and which also negatively impact athletic performance, do we just accept it or do we do something about it?

2018 will be a pivotal year for me.  This represents the 20th year of following a calling to do something about this devastating injury.   I have learned a lot along this journey.  #1 thing I have learned is that if we wait for the pure researchers to figure out the solution for us, we will be waiting another 20 years.  I don't know about you, but I am not willing to wait that long.  For the purest wants to control all the variables, look at things in isolation and validate through multiple studies.  The reality in sports is this is controlled chaos.  In athletic settings you can not control all the variables and look at things in isolation.  Yes things need to be validated and we need to use sound scientific principles.

The other thing that I have learned is that technology companies are tech people and not clinicians.  You might be saying...well duh.  But here is my point.  They are selling you technology.  They will tell you it does one thing or another but in reality have no clue of whether or not it truly does that clinically.  For example, there are now some wearable sensor technologies out there that are embedding sensors in clothing.  They say this accurately measures valgus.  Really?  So you telling me a fabric that moves on my body which is embedded with a sensor is going to accurately measure the movement of one bone on another?  This despite the fact that we know if you have a sensor on muscle tissue versus bone that this will introduce some error, not to mention clothes on your body.  I am not a biomechanist but common sense would tell me something is wrong with this picture.  I guess my point being is that we have to apply some science and common sense to what we elect to use.  Most importantly, we need to know what the limitations of the technology we are working with.

So I said that 2018 is a pivotal year.  Part of that is because this is the year that we are devoted to making sure this is the year that we start having a dramatic impact on non-contact athletic injuries and athletes' performance.  In 2017, we are wrapping up several large research projects highlighting what can happen if you apply the movement science and technology with a little common sense.  In this series, we are going to talk about three specific projects we have going on and which are currently being written up.  Now I realize in the research world, you are not supposed to do this.  You are not supposed to talk about results that you have until it has been reviewed and accepted into a major publication.  But frankly, I don't care because I am not in this for the research.  I am in this for one reason.  Preventing injuries in athletes!

We will discuss each one of these in detail but first, to give you an idea of the level of impact we are having.  To date, we have collected movement data on over 7,000 athletes!  This is astounding.  We have implemented our movement corrective program (ACL Play It Safe) with over 3,500 athletes across the US.  Next year, we are projecting to get movement data on an additional 10,000 athletes.  The coolest part of all of this, is with this amount of data, we will constantly be able to vet this data for trends and norms for sport, age, gender, etc.  In addition, the way we are doing this, we can scale this to have not only an impact on injury rates nationally but we can now scale this internationally. 

So stay tuned for this series and make 2018 the year that we all dramatically change the way we do things.  Make 2018 the year we step outside the box and try something different.  When done right, it works and has dramatic impacts on injury rates and performance.  #ViPerformAMI #ACLPlayItSafe

From my Family to yours, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and many blessings in 2018.

Dr. Nessler is a practicing physical therapist with over 20 years sports medicine clinical experience and a nationally recognized expert in the area of athletic movement assessment.  He is the developer of an athletic biomechanical analysis, is an author of a college textbook on this subject  and has performed >5000 athletic movement assessments.  He serves as the National Director of Sports Medicine Innovation for Select Medical, is Chairman of Medical Services for the International Obstacle Racing Federation and associate editor of the International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training.   He is also a competitive athlete in Jiu Jitsu. 

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