The Growth of Platform Tennis; Review of the NBA Research Committee

Episode 17.05 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.

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Segment One (01:20): Dr. Jeremy Alland from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush talks about the definition and growth of Platform Tennis, unusually high rate of related injuries and the importance of warming up prior to play. Dr. Alland graduated from Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL, where he was awarded the prestigious William H. Harrison, PhD Award for selfless leadership, aspiration and collaboration. He went on to complete a Family Medicine residency at UPMC St. Margaret Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, where he served as Chief Resident and was peer-selected as the best resident teacher.

ABC7’s Judy Hsu reports on the growing popularity of platform tennis, which is played outdoors in the winter. Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush recently completed the first-ever national survey of ‘paddle tennis’ players who reported that two-thirds had sustained an injury due to the sport. Of those, one half had sustained more than one injury. Dr. Jeremy Alland, sports  medicine physician, talks about the risk of the sport and platform tennis players talk about what keeps them coming back.

Segment Two (13:50): Dr. Cole as Chairman of the NBA Research Committee andImage result for nba injuries Steve Kashul discuss the work of the committee in tracking and sharing data on performance and injuries in the NBA; how this data is used to minimize future injuries and maximize the performance of valuable professional players.

The initiative is in partnership with General Electric Healthcare. It is spearheaded by a 20-person strategic advisory board comprising team physicians and clinical researchers from various fields, including orthopedics, sports medicine, radiology and epidemiology.

 “NBA players are among the best athletes in the world, and their well-being is the league’s highest priority,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement released to “Our support for medical research through our partnership with GE Healthcare will help us improve the long-term health and wellness of NBA players. We are also excited that this research collaboration will provide important insights to athletes at all levels.”

Successful Weight Loss; In sports, who’s really ‘old’?; The 3 Phases of Muscle Healing

Episode 17.04 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.

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Segment One (01:38): Steven Mauk from Revolution Physical Therapy & Weight Loss talks about the definition of successful weight loss, sustaining weight loss, fitness vs. fatness and how to start with exercise and nutrition if you want to lose weight.

Why Revolution?Revolution PT & WL is very different: You will be treated as if you are their only patient, with a customized treatment plan that will allow you to progress at your own pace. Revolution is large enough to offer you all the rehabilitation and weight loss services you require…  but personal enough to offer you a very hands on specialized care. They care for amateur, high school, Olympic, and professional athletes as well as non-athletic patients.


Segment Two (12:02): Dr. Cole and Steve discuss the changes that occur in aging athletes, types of injuries, nutrition, training and cardiac issues. Read more in the related post: In sports, who’s really ‘old’?

Tom Brady became the second-oldest NFL quarterback to win the Super Bowl this year, at 39. He also holds the record for most Super Bowl victories with five.

Segment Three (22:26): Brian Whittington PT, DPT, CMTPT from Athletico Physical Therapy discusses the Three Phases of Muscle Healing: Destruction, Repair and Healing through effective soft tissue techniques. Read more in the related post: Understanding the 3 Phases of Muscle Healing

Brian received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2008 from the Medical University of South Carolina, and has been practicing outpatient orthopedics since. He has a background in treating post-operative knees and shoulders as well as working with a variety of overhead athletes. Other extensive experience includes treating workers compensation and chronic pain patients. Brian has taken his orthopedic experience into the home healthy setting as well. Providing patient education and being a resource for overall health and wellness, is an important component of Brian’s patient care.

5 Tips for the Aging Athlete

By Leython Williams, PT, DPT for Athletico Physical Therapy

  • Research shows that as much as 50 percent of the declines in health due to aging are related to inactivity. 
  • Successful aging has been linked to genetics and a healthy lifestyle that consists of proper nutrition and exercise, but what about the aging athlete who isn’t a stranger to activity?
  • What are some key considerations for seniors as their activity levels remain high, but their body’s physiologic response changes with age?

As baby boomers become more active and healthy living becomes a bit trendier, I’ve been receiving a lot of these questions from patients who endeavor to stay active as they refuse to let their age slow them down. Thus, I’ve put together some tips to help us, aging athletes, age successfully!

1. Accept it.

Whether athletic or not, the processes of aging are the same in all of us. Even with the healthiest lifestyle, we all undergo predictable changes in our body systems that include disease states and compromises in our performance. Our bodies are sure to change; accepting this inevitability will only help us adapt and adjust to these changes, while decreasing the likelihood for injury and/or impairment. Here are a few basic systemic changes to consider as “Father Time” knocks at each of our doors:

  • Nervous System
    • Decreased Sensation
    • Decreased Balance
  • Respiratory System
    • Decreased Vital Capacity/Breathing Capacity of Lungs: Maximum amount of air a person can exhale after maximum inhalation
  • Cardiovascular System
    • Decreased Maximum Heart Rate (decreases by 5-10 beats per decade)
    • Slower return to resting HR after and during exercise
  • Musculoskeletal System
    • Decreased Bone Strength
    • Decreased Muscular Strength
    • Decreased Flexibility
  • Vision
    • Farsightedness
    • Relates to Balance/Coordination
  • Hearing Loss

2. Turn it up.

Any given sport or workout has three elements that can be manipulated in one’s fitness regimen to obtain the desired results: frequency, duration and intensity. Intensity is the operative word here – as we get older, the tendency is to trade in intensity for duration. However, as athletes, we need to do the very opposite in order to perform at a high level. Avoid the long, slow distances and incorporate exercises with an emphasis on muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance and power. Higher intensities over a shorter duration, 2-3 times a week will help to stimulate testosterone release, which helps maintain muscle mass.

3. Lift it up.

Putting the muscles and bones under stress through lifting weights and even performing body-weight resisted exercises (such as push-ups, squats and lunges) help to promote bone and muscle health. This is essential in an effort to negate the decrease in bone density that comes with aging. Rebuilding bone and gaining muscle is still a possibility no matter what age we are!

4. Recover.

Sleep and nutrition are directly linked to an athlete’s ability to recover from strenuous activity. The days of being able to perform at a high level on little sleep and/or a bad diet become fewer and fewer as we get older.

Sleep is essential because it is our body’s way of regenerating from the breakdown caused by the increased intensity of our exercise regimens (see above). Adequate sleep is also linked to increased testosterone levels, which increases muscle and bone mass in men and women.

Nutrition is also integral in an aging athlete’s recovery and performance; food is fuel. Macronutrients and micronutrients are twin concerns as they relate to an athlete’s nutrition. It is crucial that macronutrients, such as carbohydrates and proteins, are replenished after competition or exercise. Carbohydrates are considered to be the athlete’s “Master Fuel” as they provide energy to 50 percent of any moderate to rigorous endurance workout. Proteins are essential as they are the building blocks of muscle and bone, as well as aide in the build and repair of tissues after breakdown. Micronutrients, in vitamins and minerals, are essential as they facilitate energy production and utilization from carbohydrate, fat and protein; transport oxygen and carbon dioxide; and regulate fluid balance.

5. Hydrate.

Water is arguably the most essential nutrient in the human diet. H2O regulates our temperature and maintains several bodily functions such as food digestion, absorption of its nutrients and excretion of waste. Athletes of all ages need to be sure to hydrate before, during and after moderate to rigorous activity. Exercise, sports and environmental conditions can all impact fluid loss, which refers to expending more fluids than we take in. Research shows that one percent of fluid loss makes the heart beat 3-5 times greater per minute, which is especially significant in the aging population that will naturally have certain cardiac considerations. It is not uncommon to lose a sense of thirst as we get older and certain medications may make it even more important to drink water. Thus hydration must be a concentrated effort.

Get in the Game

All in all, it is an unavoidable fact that the aging process causes a gradual decline in a person’s ability to adapt and adjust to their environment. While exercise and athletic activity certainly slows down this decline, it is imperative that aging athletes understand that they are not exempt to these bodily changes simply because they are active. Accepting this fact of life is not conceding defeat by any means, but it assists in developing and executing the game plan to aging successfully! Get in the game!

Click here if you would like to learn more from an Athletico physical therapist near you to request an appointment!

In sports, who’s really ‘old’?

Tom Brady became the second-oldest NFL quarterback to win the Super Bowl this year, at 39. He also holds the record for most Super Bowl victories with five.

Tom Brady’s Super Bowl victory continues a string of big wins for aging professional athletes — and at 39 years old, Brady has said he has no plans to retire. The second-oldest quarterback to win the Super Bowl after Peyton Manning, Brady signals what avid fans and sports experts are calling a growing trend of older athletes — from mid-30s tennis icons Roger Federer, Serena Williams and sister Venus to Florida Panthers right wing Jaromír Jágr, who turns 45 next week.

“We’ve really started to notice it in the last five or six years,” said Shawn Arent, director of the Center for Health and Human Performance at Rutgers University. “Don’t be at all surprised if … (we see) some of these guys winning their sixth Super Bowl in their 40s,” he added. Arent said advances in the science and technology of exercise are changing not only who excels in professional sports but how star athletes are training for the big game.

Just keep swimming

On Super Bowl Sunday, former Olympic swimmer Dara Torres found herself arguingDara Torres' bid to be oldest woman on U.S. Olympic swim team comes up short with a 9-year-old boy who predicted Brady’s impending retirement. Brady, the boy said, is too old to continue playing. “He had no idea who I was,” said Torres, who last competed in the 2008 Games at age 41. That summer, she won three silver medals and set an American record.

“So now I have this bet with this kid that Brady’s gonna be back next year,” she added. Torres, who won 12 medals during her 24-year Olympic career, was affectionately called “Grandma” by her teammates. But she said people learned to stop telling her that an athlete’s career died at 30. “I think I did away with that myth,” she said. “Nowadays, 30 isn’t that old anymore.”

Torres did notice that her body had changed over the years. In her teens and 20s, her approach to training was “more is better.” She trained to be physically stronger than the competition, packing on muscle in the weight room. In her 30s and 40s, however, she realized that she could no longer pull a double workout in one day. She felt winded with the same effort.

“You can’t do what the 20-year-olds are doing,” Torres said. Arent said that what is considered “old” changes from sport to sport. While athletes’ bodies may change in predictable ways, he said, their performance also depends on the unique demands of the game. Strength is one of the first things to decline with age, according to Arent. After 30, muscle mass tends to drop just a few percent per decade, but this is not something most people will notice, he said.

“For the elite athlete, where things are won and lost by fractions of a percent, then it’s definitely noticeable,” he said. In one analysis of the ages when athletes reach their peak performance in different sports, researchers found two separate trends: For sprint-like events that demand bursts of power, the longer the event, the younger the age at which athletes peak. For endurance events, athletes peaked later for longer events.

By that logic, the researchers found that swimmers peaked around 20 years old while ultra-distance cyclists peaked closer to 40. And scientists have found that even cyclists older than 100 can increase their performance and oxygen consumption, despite conventional wisdom. In sports that skew younger, athletes like Torres have gotten creative to stay on top of their games, said Arent.

“There are lessons in this for the younger athlete,” he said. “Train smarter, not just harder.”

Older and wiser

Torres wasn’t just losing her muscle. Her hormones were changing, and her recoveryUS swimmer Dara Torres came out of retirement at age 41 to win three Olympic silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Games. time was longer. She no longer swam through her injuries like she did in her 20s. Maximum heart rate also falls as people age, and training may take an extra toll on muscles, joints and ligaments. Maximum oxygen consumption takes a hit. For women especially, bone density may drop after age 30. Genetics may also play a role in athletic performance. “You can’t just push it like you did when you were younger,” Torres said.

Hormones that drop with age include growth hormone, a naturally occurring muscle-building compound whose synthetic version has also been implicated in Olympic doping scandals, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency. Although the impacts of other hormones, such as estrogen, on athletic performance are less clear, exercise physiologists such as Arent say new technologies are only beginning to reveal the science of what happens when athletes train and recover.

“We’ve seen a massive step up in terms of our ability to monitor athletes,” he said, adding that heart rate monitors, sleep trackers and biological tests are giving researchers new insight into what happens beyond the field or pool. Using personal data, athletes like Torres may change up their routines to play past their theoretical peak. If Torres couldn’t swim more powerfully, she said, she would have to swim more efficiently.

“You’re gonna lose a little bit of power, but you’ll make it up in the ability to do the sport in the best possible way,” said Jeoff Drobot, an exercise specialist at the American Center for Biological Medicine, who worked with Torres leading up to her final Olympic tryout in 2012.

One example of improving efficiency, Arent said, was famed cyclist Lance Armstrong’s low levels of blood lactate. Lactate, a byproduct of high-intensity exercise, causes a feeling of fatigue and burning in muscles; lowering these levels, said Arent, allows athletes to improve their performance — not by increasing their maximum strength but by staying closer to their current maximum for longer periods of time. Even then, Arent said, athletes can’t turn back the clock; they can only slow it.

“As you get older … you realize that no matter what, that window is closing,” he said. At 45 years old, Torres narrowly lost her spot in the 2012 London Olympics to competitors who were decades younger. It was then that she retired from swimming.

Of early birds and worms

Torres acknowledged that factors beyond training and willpower might be leading some athletes to stay in the game longer. Players might be having families later, making more money in some sports and realizing that it’s possible to continue playing professionally past a certain age.

“People are seeing the Serena Williams, the Roger Federers, Tom Brady,” she said. “Before, no one was doing it, and no one tried.” But while scientists continue to research new ways of monitoring and adjusting athletes’ regimens, experts like Arent and Drobot have stressed a message of early prevention: Though exercise can benefit non-athletes at any age, elite athletes stand to uniquely benefit from an early start. “Watch what these guys are doing” to train in their later years, said Arent.

“Now, can you apply this earlier? Imagine how much longer (your career) can be.”

By Michael Nedelman and Robert Jimison, CNN