Billy Garrett Jr. thrives in defiance of Sickle Cell Disease; Transform your Health with the Toxin Take-down Course

Episode 17.29 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.

new host image

Segment One (01:33): Billy Garrett Jr. talks with Steve and Dr. Cole about his Sickle Cell condition, how he trains and has played at the highest level at DePaul University and now currently with the NY Knicks G League. The 6-foot-5 Chicago native has the “SC” form of sickle cell disease, statistically milder than the “SS” form. It is different from sickle cell trait, which can cause muscle breakdown during intense exercise.

Billy Garrett Jr.

Garrett Jr.’s condition, in short: Red blood cells mutate into a “sickle” shape to clog vessels and limit blood flow. This can cause extreme pain emanating from joints or, worse, damage to organs. Each of these episodes is called a crisis. Triggers include stress, a lack of rest, cold temperatures (that constrict blood vessels) and dehydration — all of which describe the daily working conditions of an athlete playing high-level basketball.

Segment Two (15:20): Karen Malkin from Karen Malkin Health Counseling talks about the various program levels and resources available to improve your health, your life and improve the environment.

The 14 Day Transformation Program, the Foundation Program, Master Your Metabolism Program and announcing her new Toxic Takedown Course to be launched in October.

The new program educates you on how to reduce the toxic load in your food and environment and eliminate damage from free radicals. Karen encourages all of us to visit which provides a wealth of resources to help us live better and protect the environment.

The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.

Running to work – how running can help you create a better working life

Eighteen months ago I returned to running after a break of fifteen years. Running had always been a big part of my life but I had just lost the habit and other things – job, child, life – had gotten in the way.

Returning to running reconnected me to many of the things I had always enjoyed about the sport but it also gave me a fresh perspective. In particular, I noticed new things about the act of regularly running; most surprising was its impact not only on my work but my relationship with work.

Over the last fifteen years, the world of business has changed dramatically. Smartphones and ubiquitous connectivity mean that, if you let it, you are always in touch with what is happening and what needs to be done.

As I am paid to solve client’s problems, and I have an inclination to think deeply about things, this new ‘always on’ world presents a challenge – how do I switch off?

Running allows me to regain perspective in a world that is overrun with information and interruptions. It allows me to escape for a moment and to let my thoughts run free.

The remarkable thing about running is the inability to hold a coherent thought during the duration of a run. I might start a run wrestling with a thorny problem but I can be sure that will not be the thought I end the run with. It’s as if the act of freeing my body and running frees my mind as well.

In addition, I’ve noticed that my best ideas and thoughts come either during a run or immediately afterward. Running creates distance from problems both literally and metaphorically and allows me to change my perspective. Viewing a problem differently creates new possibilities and pathways. And it is this change in perspective that helps create new ways of thinking and ideas.

Running has also added excitement and interest to the bland, antiseptic world of business travel. International trips had started to lose their appeal for me as I realized it was often the same hotels and the same meeting rooms with the only connection to the country you are visiting being the taxi ride to the airport.

But running before meetings feels like an illicit adventure. You get to explore parts of a city as everyone is waking up and you get to see beyond the world that other business travelers are experiencing.

On South Beach Miami I was so enchanted by the beach-side boardwalk that I ran for 10 miles beside the sea. Far from sending me to sleep during the subsequent 8 hours of meetings I had a smile on my face thinking of the experience my colleagues, trapped in their hotel, had missed.

In Paris, I navigated the narrow roads and early morning deliveries of the Left Bank before running the length of the Champs Elysees to find the exact turn where Bradley Wiggins had lead out Mark Cavendish at the end of the 2012 Tour de France.

German forests have continued to charm and terrify me in equal measure. In a hotel in the forests outside of Munich I was given a map to guide me through the surrounding countryside. But at seven in the morning, an innocent looking path through pine woods quickly turned from a Hansel and Gretel fairy story to the Blair Witch Project as the forest closed in on either side of me. There is nothing like a bit of fear to help with a negative split.

On a two-day trip to Frankfurt, I was surprised to discover the largest urban forest in Europe was beside my hotel near the airport. My previous experience of German woods didn’t deter me from jogging along an unlit path through dense trees on an early winter’s morning. I saw no-one but the outline of wood sheds in the gloom combined with airplanes landing nearby triggered memories of every dark, macabre scandi-noir series and hastened my return. The reception team seemed particularly relieved when I returned half an hour later alive – but slightly paler.

When I talk to non-running colleague about running they mainly focus on the effort it must take. The message being that running is hard work. But that seems to me to completely miss the point of running. Running has helped me produce better work, to enjoy my work more and to create a better balance between my work and my life.

In a world where expensive technology is seen as the greatest enabler of productivity, there is something surprising about finding out that some shorts, a t-shirt and a pair of trainers is the secret to a better working life.


Improve Your Swing, Right From The Start

By Steven Marsh for Athletico Physical Therapy

Golf is a difficult game, but what if you could take strokes off your round while reducing your risk of injury at the same time?

One of the low-hanging fruits to improve your golf game starts with your position at address. Your posture at address can fall into one of three categories: Neutral spine (ideal), C-Spine or S-Spine. Here is an easy assessment to find out which posture you start out in:

  • Set up your phone so it can take a picture or video. Start recording.
  • Give yourself enough distance from the phone, and assume a normal position as if you were swinging your 5-iron.
  • Come back to the camera and assess!

Once you have identified which posture you naturally set up into, here are a few tips to see if you can bring yourself closer to neutral position at address.

If you have S-Posture:

The main dysfunction of this posture is too much arching of the low back. To help reverse excessive arching through the low back, focus on stretching your hip flexors and strengthening your glutes. For starters, try the Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch and Glute Bridge exercise that are outlined below.

Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Begin in a half kneeling position with one knee bent in front of your body.
  • Tighten your core and squeeze your glutes (which will tilt your pelvis backward). Gently push your hips forward. You should feel a stretch in the front of your hip.
  • Make sure to keep your hips facing forward and back straight during the exercise.
  • Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat 3-4 times per leg.

Glute Bridge

  • Begin lying on your back with your arms resting at your sides, your legs bent at the knees and your feet flat on the ground.
  • Tighten your core muscles, squeeze your glutes and slowly lift your hips off the floor.
  • Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.


If you have C-Posture:

This posture features slouching of the shoulders and back. Exercises, such as stretches that focus on the chest and strengthening around your shoulder blades, can help correct this posture, like the Pec Corner stretch and Wall Slide with Lift-Off exercise.

Pec Corner Stretch

  • Stand facing a corner. Place your forearms flat on the wall on each side of the corner with your elbows at shoulder height.
  • Slowly lean forward, taking a small step if needed until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your chest and shoulders.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat for 3-4 repetitions.


Wall Slide with Lift-Off

  • Begin in a standing upright position facing a wall.
  • Rest both hands on the wall with your palms facing inward, then slide them up the wall.
  • When your arms are straight, raise your hands a few inches from the wall.
  • Bring your arms back down and repeat.
  • Perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Ready to Start

Hopefully these quick stretches and exercises help to get you into a better starting position. This can lead to better ball-striking, improved power and less injuries!

If you would like to learn more from an Athletico physical therapist, please use the button below to request an appointment!

Request an Appointment Today

The 6 Main Causes of Dance Injuries

Dance Injuries

Dance injury rates are significantly statistically higher than that of other sports. A study by Wolverhampton University found that professional dancers are more likely to suffer injuries than rugby players.

Statistics show that 80 per cent of dancers incur at least one injury a year that affects their ability to perform – compared to a 20 per cent injury rate for rugby or football players. Whilst not a contact sport or explicitly high-impact, dance training is intensively challenging and highly demanding for even the most conditioned and able athlete. Here we look at the six main causative factors that result in dance injury.

1. Anatomical Causes

Natural physical limitations and constraints may limit the development of a perfectly correct technique. Correct technique – beyond being prerequisite for professional success – is a fundamental element of avoiding dance injury. This is evident in the fact that the communist anatomical cause of potential problems and injuries is limitation of turn-outs (external rotation) of the hips. As such it is vital that the dance student and teacher recognise any potential physical limitations early on, so that the dancer may learn to work within their true physical range.

2. Incorrect Technique

When dancers allow their technique to slip – usually due to fatigue – they put themselves at a much higher risk of injury. Commonly this becomes an issue towards the end of a long tour or performance run. Slipping technique is why, typically, injury rates among cast dancers increase throughout the duration of a tour. Quickly learning and performing new, unknown choreography can also create injury issues, as regardless of the ability of the dancer, they have had insufficient time to become accustomed to the movements and fine-tune their technique accordingly.

3. Poor Coaching

As with all sports and athletic disciplines, expert teaching and coaching for the development of technical knowledge is vital. It is the responsibility of an excellent and highly knowledgeable dance teacher to be able to recognise, and react accordingly to, any anatomical weaknesses, physical limitations or onset of injury evident in the dance pupil. Furthermore it is imperative that they correctly relay and instill the fundamentals of correct technique and advise upon supporting lifestyle and cross-training that ensure optimum health, well-being and physical performance of the dancer.

4. The Floor

The floor is an extremely important environmental factor to the health and performance of a dancer. Purpose-built dance floors are vital in rehearsal and performance spaces. Floors that are not built for purpose do not provide sufficient supportive impact. Sprung wood floors support dynamic movement; reinforced, concrete or non-sprung wood floors create unsupportive and unsustainable support for the joints, which is highly detrimental to the physical health of the dancer in the long term. Lack of spring in the floor can produce many injuries, notably foot problems, injuries in the lumbar region of the spine, and in the muscles which are associated with take off and landing – mainly the tibia and metatarsals, which may result in stress fractures.

5. Temperature

Ambient temperature of rehearsal studio and performance space is of utmost performance in avoiding dance injury. Dancers have to take extra care to not get too cold before or after practice in order to avoid muscular injury. A standard advised temperature for a training and performance space is 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit, and should not be allowed to drop below this range.

6. Excessive Practice

Unavoidably, dancers often adhere to grueling training schedules – a necessary requisite to master the art, and a mainstay of rehearsals for dance productions and tours. Obviously this presents a high risk factor for creating overuse injuries, particularly when a dancer must continue to train at high intensity with an existing injury. Clearly the combination aforementioned factors – excellent physical cardiovascular fitness, diet, training, technique, ability and training environment – greatly reduces the risk of injury under the demanding training schedules of a professional dancer, however dancers at the top of their game still frequently incur significant injury.

By SportsInjuryClinic