More Than Surgery And Rehabilitation

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM IPF Training Room
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
IPF Training Room
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Sep 4, 2013

This is the third and final part in a series of stories related to the Health and Sports Performance Division of Ole Miss Athletics.

Part 1: New Facility, Staffing For Ole Miss Athletics Nutrition

Part 2: Sports Psychology Provides Mental Edge For Student-Athletes

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. — When you think of athletic training or sports, you always think of an athlete having surgery, or the rehabilitation that follows, or taping wrists and ankles before a practice or workout.

In summary, athletic trainers are involved in every phase of health and sports performance and are responsible for the care and prevention of athletic injuries.

“A lot of times the athlete ends up spending more time with the athletic trainer than anyone else on campus because we are the ones who are there before they do any workout or practice, and we’re there afterwards,” said Heather Landry Shirley, Senior Athletic Trainer.

“The majority of the time, especially if they are having an injury that needs to be taken care of, they're spending that time with us because we're trying to get them better and get them back to playing without any problems.”

And it includes a lot of people, from the sports nutritionist, to the sports psychologist, to the strength and conditioning staff, to the physical therapist, to the massage therapist.

The biggest thing, head football athletic trainer Pat Jernigan said, is prevention, which includes body maintenance with hot and cold tubs, and the exercise program, which is more of the strength and conditioning. If an injury occurs, however, there’s a procedure to follow, whether it’s non-surgical or surgical.

“You think about all the rehab we do,” he said. “A lot more is accomplished through prevention that you don't even hear about injuries because of the things we do. Now, when you talk about surgeries, that takes on its own animal.”

“If someone gets injured, the biggest thing we have to do is make the correct diagnosis. That involves evaluating the student-athlete. Sometimes it's a physician, sometimes it's a diagnostic test, like an X-Ray or an MRI. When we gather all of that information, that's when we decide if it's non-surgical or surgical.

“If it's non-surgical, then we set up a rehab program for them to get back to be able to play,” Jernigan said. “If it's surgical, then the guy has to have a surgery, and then there's a rehab protocol we follow. We use Michael Meurrier (Physical Therapist). He's a big part of that, as well.”

One of the diagnostic tests used is the IMPACT test, which is part of the testing used when an athlete shows any symptoms or signs of a concussion.

“Every single athlete that comes in here, as part of the pre-participation physical exam, everybody has baseline screening for cognitive and motor skills,” said Shannon Singletary, Senior Associate A.D. for Health and Sports Performance.

“We do balance testing. And we do cognitive testing, both on and off the computer. They do IMPACT testing, which is on a computer, and it tests hand-eye coordination, cerebral input and memory, among other things.

“On the front end, we give all our athletes an education sheet with the symptoms of concussions. We also post them in their locker rooms. If you have any of these, you must report these symptoms to the athletic trainer. Once those symptoms are reported, then we can go back and test them again on those tests and compare them to their baselines. No athletes who have concussion symptoms during a game are allowed to go back into the game until we feel 100 percent that those symptoms have been resolved, and there has been a period of healing.”

As noted above, physical therapy and massage therapy are two additional tools for the athletic trainers to use in an athlete’s rehabilitation and recovery, respectively.

Michael Muerrier, the division’s physical therapist, provides one-on-one expert rehabilitation for every athlete who has had surgery, and also some cases that don’t require surgery, such as lower back and neck injuries.

“The first couple of months, regardless of the sport, we're going to be working on the same main things. The initial goals are to restore range of motion, control their pain and swelling, reestablish neuromuscular control, and regain a certain level of strength of the surrounding musculature.

“Once these goals are met then the athlete can be transitioned into a more functional type of rehabilitation with their athletic trainer for their respective sport.”

In the preseason, the division’s massage therapist Sharon King, works with individual teams, then during the season, athletic trainers will send her individual athletes who are in pain, dealing with overuse and maybe even looking at surgery. Where an athlete is suffering from pain or injury, King does neuromuscular therapy focused on the specific area.

“Neuromuscular therapy is real repetitive,” King said. “It's trying to retrain those muscles with the brain, where it's going to work the way it's supposed to. And it can get pretty painful because I may even go in on the most painful spot and keep static pressure until I feel it ease.”

When dealing with injuries, Jernigan said the biggest thing is players have to trust their athletic trainer, so they can treat them and get them better. An athletic trainer’s communication with the coaches regarding an injury is also extremely important.

“We are going to push the envelope on some things,” he said. “We're going to be smart but aggressive. You can't put someone out there who can't protect themselves. These players know what is demanded of them. Most of them want to compete. They want to practice. They have a lot of heart. They don't want to sit out. They have to trust that I'm not going to put them in a situation that will put them in danger. That’s a responsibility I have to take seriously.

“Coaching-wise, I have to tell them why a guy is out, and how long they are going to miss. You learn projected time for guys to miss from experience. No coach wants people to miss practices or games, but sometimes they do, and they understand that. My job is to give them the information so they realize why, and what they have to do to prepare.”

With three different training areas and different staffs for the respective teams, there remains an emphasis of keeping things equal, in the sense of facility type and the equipment in the respective facilities, so the athletes are accessible to what will get them better faster.

“We try to have it so that no matter what sport they are playing, the athletes have the things that they need to help prepare them for workouts or practice, and also to get them better when they have an injury,” Shirley said.

“We try to keep up with what's current and research-based equipment, in the sense of knowing that there is an actual benefit for its use, and not just trying to buy the fads,” Shirley said. “We want to make sure that we are purchasing things that have an extended use, in the sense of that it's something that has been proven to be beneficial and something that will continue to beneficial for an extended amount of time.”

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

2/23/2014 - Health and Sports Performance

Hull, Jackson Share Olympic Skeleton Experience

Read More [+]

9/4/2013 - Health and Sports Performance

More Than Surgery And Rehabilitation

Read More [+]

06/13/2013 - Health and Sports Performance

Katie Breathitt Named Muscle Milk Athlete Of The Year

Read More [+]

05/31/2013 - Health and Sports Performance

SEC Announces Update On Concussions

Read More [+]

11/13/2012 - Health and Sports Performance

Jones Chairing SEC Working Group On Concussions

Read More [+]

11/13/2012 - Health and Sports Performance

Miller Joins Freeze's Support Staff

Read More [+]

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • VIDEO: Hugh Freeze LSU Postgame Presser

      Saturday, October 25, 2014 - Football

      read more

    • Three and Out: Ole Miss-LSU

      Saturday, October 25, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 3 Ole Miss travels to No. 23 LSU for an SEC West Showdown on Saturday. Stopping The Run Not just this year, but throughout head coach Les Miles' tenure, LSU's running game has been... read more

    • What They're Saying: Ole Miss-LSU Pregame

      Friday, October 24, 2014 - Football

      Ahead of a rivalry renewed on a national stage, complete with a visit of ESPN's "College GameDay" and the mystique of a Saturday night game in Death Valley, here's link roundup of videos and stories from local and national media... read more

    • Extra Emphasis on Special Teams Play

      Thursday, October 23, 2014 - Football

      Extra Emphasis on Special Teams Play Through the years, special teams play has provided a winning edge in the Ole Miss-LSU rivalry, and and you don't have to go all the way back to Billy Cannon's 1959 Halloween run. In... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 8

      Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 8 - Tennessee (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Freeze, Miles Talk Ole Miss-LSU Rivalry

      Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and LSU head coach Les Miles on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's game in Baton Rouge.For the full SEC teleconference, go here.Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze (starts at 1:06:12... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Oct. 13-19)

      Monday, October 20, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 13-19, 2014Football- Ole Miss rode its dominant defense to a 34-3 homecoming win over Tennessee on Saturday to improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play.- The Rebels are 7-0 for just... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Oct. 19

      Sunday, October 19, 2014 - Athletics

      It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. There was no shortage of observations surrounding the Homecoming festivities this weekend. Let's get into it:1. When "College GameDay" visits Baton Rouge,... read more

    • Winning Formula for Rebels is No Secret

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      The winning formula revealed itself as it has throughout the season: a dominant defense and a mistake-free offense. The Ole Miss defense forced four turnovers, while the Ole Miss offense did not commit a single turnover in a workmanlike 34-3... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Tennessee Motivational

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Tennessee Official Team Motivational from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Tennessee

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 3 Ole Miss faces Tennessee for Homecoming on Saturday.'Third Down for What'Tennessee is very dangerous, Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze said, because its talented, particularly if it gets momentum and confidence during... read more

    • SEC Nation Talent Talks Ole Miss on Visit

      Friday, October 17, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from today's media opportunity with SEC Nation host Joe Tessitore and analysts Tim Tebow and Marcus Spears discussing the show's visit to Oxford for the SEC matchup between No. 3 Ole Miss and Tennessee. Tessitore recalls calling the first college... read more

    • What They're Saying: Midseason Honors

      Friday, October 17, 2014 - Football

      At the halfway point of the regular season, Ole Miss is 6-0 for the first time since 1962, when it went 10-0 and earned a share of the national title. It's No. 3 ranking in the national polls is its... read more

    • Rebels Slow Offensive Tempo

      Thursday, October 16, 2014 - Football

      With a dominant defense that ranks among the nation's leaders in most statistical categories, head coach Hugh Freeze acknowledged he has changed his offensive philosophy and play-calling to limit negative plays and quick possessions. Ole Miss averaged the second-most offensive... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 7

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 7 - Texas A&M (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more