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Sports medicine specialist talks pitching injuries at Antioch clinic By erik stordahl | SportStars Baseball players of all ages, coaches and parents were treated to a clinic on throwing injuries at Deer Valley High School in Antioch on April 7. The event was put on by Sutter Delta Medical Center and was led by its very own Dr. Benjamin Busfield, sports medicine specialist. Dr. Busfield’s experience spans many years of involvement with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kings, Sparks and Dodgers. The crux of his message was simple: Limit pitch counts. “Practice makes perfect is what’s taught, and ‘No pain, no gain,’” explains Dr. Busfield. “I don’t think (these young pitchers) understand what they’re doing to their bodies.” By limiting pitches and allowing ample rest in between starts, pitchers can enjoy a fruitful and prolific career. The key is to start this method at an early age. Baseball players generally graduate from T-Ball and Coach Pitch by the time they’re 8-years old. The model is basic: The older the pitcher, the more pitches he can throw and the more rest is needed. “What caught my eye was the time of recovery for some of the injuries,” explains Deer Valley High pitcher Patrick McKnight, who was in attendance with the rest of his team. “Some injuries are up to a year, year and a half – not a quick fix.” The recovery period McKnight was referring to is tied to Tommy John surgery, which is essentially elbow reconstruction. This surgery involves recruiting a ligament from another body part and using it to replace the ligament in the medial elbow. Patience is the name of the game as it takes typically 12-15 months to fully heal. A key factor in serious throwing injuries is pitching year-round — fall ball, high school, and summer travel ball. Dr. Busfield says it’s important to do as the pros do and take some time off. Deer Valley baseball head coach Dennis Luquet disagreed. “Our pitchers throw in the fall,” says Luquet. “Now the two guys I have that didn’t throw in the fall, both hurt their shoulders and didn’t pitch their senior years. I believe you still long toss, you still pitch with your mechanics. You just don’t throw as much as you do during the regular season. You cut back.” Obviously, baseball isn’t the only sport in town. Sutter Delta is looking to host more events where serious injuries specific to other sports can be covered. “We’re already talking about setting something up for wrestling right now,” remarks Deer Valley athletic director Tim Ryan. “We’ll run a series of these if we possibly can to keep the community informed.” ✪ Continued from page16 Blanka Vlasic. “I like and admire how she handles pressure,” Wilson said. “She handles herself with so much composure and so much confidence, yet she always has a smile on her face. I like that.” And Taylor likes everything about how Wilson works.  “She’s definitely physically talented and gifted. But more than that, Trinity never misses a practice,” he said. “She works extremely hard. She has everything you need to compete at a high level. She’s just a really, really good kid and she wants to be great.” Practice Makes Perfect All of her vast skills and natural talents were displayed in Arcadia on April 9. Wilson made amends and scored the meet’s all-time best mark at 13.51, blowing away the field with an absolutely clean performance. She led at the first hurdle and never relin36 SportStars™ April 14, 2011 quished it, winning handily over Long Beach Poly’s Melia Cox (13.83). Her winning mark also bettered the best time in the country this year previously held by Georgia sensation Kendall Williams at 13.66. Like always, Wilson started strong, was technically flawless through the middle range, but then what made Taylor most pleased, she finished strong. “She never backed off,” he said. “Her eyes were on the prize.” Said Wilson: “Everything I practiced on this week I was able to pull all together today and that feels really, really good. Practice makes perfect, so it was all good.” Wilson, who was just off her personal best, feels like she’s on pace to reach her goal of 13.1 by the end of the season. “That’s what I’m shooting for,” she said. “But more important than that is I know I don’t want to have that second-place feeling I had last year.” ✪ Good training, physical therapy should mimic the motions of your sport W e have all heard of the grueling boot camps that members of the Armed Forces must go through as part of their physical training. They are arguably the most conditioned individuals in the world. The basis of their training is running, swimming, push-ups and sit-ups. However, after a closer look at their training recently, they asked themselves, “Is this what we do in the real world and when we’re out in the field?” Sure, they had the strength, endurance and speed. But that wasn’t enough. They wanted the exact type of strength, endurance and speed required for the field. So they began incorporating something called “functional training.” Michael Boyle, the author of Functional Training for Sports, explains functional training as follows: “Function is, essentially, purpose. Functional training can therefore be described as purposeful training.” Functional training and the principle of specificity have been utilized by physical therapists in rehabilitation and training for years. Physical therapists develop exercises that simulate what patients do at home or work in order for them to be prepared for return to their lives or job after an injury. Physical therapists in the sports setting have utilized the same principles for their injured athletes to return to sports with confidence. So, is your training helping you gain the EXACT type of strength, endurance and speed for your sports activity? Are you training with a purpose? If your sport requires body impact to the ground or is influenced by gravity, does the majority of your training mimic that? Are you strength training in positions, and moving in patterns that you do in your sport? Does your sport require quick strong bursts or moderate repetitive muscle contractions? Whether you are in-season or it just ended, go out and evaluate what your sport activity involves, then modify your training program to match it. Keep in mind the following aspects of specificity training principle: ■ What muscles are you using? ■ What joints are moving together and/or independently? ■ What pattern are you moving in? ■ What speed does your muscle have fire? ■ Energy system requirement (aerobic vs. anaerobic system) Work together with your coach, athletic trainer or physical therapists to help guide you to a safe and effective training program. They will help you make sure that you have good baseline strength and correct form before you progress to higher level exercises. To get you started, here is an example of a great exercise for an athlete that needs to do a lot of repetitive jumping (basketball or volleyball player). This will get you ready for the game when you have to repetitively jump and fight for a rebound or when you’re going up to spike and then quickly recover to go up for a block. It’s very rare in a game to only jump once, so prepare your body for more! Box jumps on/off: Jump off box (any height is fine, higher=harder) and land softly in a squat position. Or work on jumping onto a box, also with a soft squat position land. Repeat 8-10 times or when fatigued. ✪ Health Watch Wendy Cao Wendy Cao is a physical therapist intern for the staff of Sports Medicine For Young Athletes, a division of Children’s Hospital Oakland with a facility also located in Walnut Creek. If you have questions or comments regarding the “Health Watch” column, write the Sports Medicine For Young Athletes staff at Upload photos and team stats!

EB Issue 21, 04.14.2011

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