Meadville Tribune

Breaking News

Sports

November 15, 2013

Why do pro athletes recover before you do?

WASHINGTON — It's a mystery: When we twist our ankle playing tennis, it can take weeks to heal, but when a pro athlete does it, he often misses barely a beat.

Take an NBA game last season between the L.A. Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks. Kobe Bryant was pushed in midair, and he landed with a thud on the court. He clutched his ankle and writhed in pain. A few hours later - after X-rays found no broken bones - his coaches announced he was out indefinitely with a bad sprain.

Bryant sent out a tweet about his recuperation and how he was going to spend his time watching movies and sleeping: "Compression. Ice. Django. Zero Dark Thirty. This is Forty and 1 hour of sleep."

Yet 36 hours later, Bryant was back on the court.

Did he have a miraculous recovery? Not necessarily. While professional athletes are in terrific shape, which helps when they get injured, they also have advantages rarely available to the weekend warrior: an instant medical response and a physical therapy regimen that kicks in quickly, that operates practically around the clock and that continues even after the athlete is back in the game.

"Most of the time, the pros get a prompt assessment and treatment by experienced trainers, and what may take a recreational athlete weeks to recover [from] may take a pro only a matter of days," said Benjamin Shaffer, an orthopedic surgeon in Bethesda, Md., who is head team physician for the Washington Capitals and assistant team physician for the Washington Wizards.

Granted, some professional athletes speed their return to competition by overusing painkillers, anti-inflammatories and other prescription drugs and by succumbing to pressure from teams to play through injuries, as The Washington Post reported in a series of stories last spring.

But for many pros, it is the hours of intensive daily attention from highly experienced physical therapists, along with specialized rehabilitation equipment and exercises, that make their rehab and yours quite different.

A cadre of professionals uses electric stimulation, compression sleeves, anti-gravity treadmills and individually tailored exercises to speed the repair of the body. These techniques and devices can mean the difference between an early return or weeks on the bench, Shaffer said.

While physicians and trainers involved with professional teams avoid talking about injuries to specific players, here's a look at what they do to get an athlete up and running again.

Text Only
Sports
  • Kinter and Neff Error-free defense, hitting propel District 1 to state title

    When Tom Brunot, Doug Hecker and Mark McKissock agreed about a month ago to take on a Senior League softball team they felt fairly confident in their team’s ability to defend its turf with a state championship on the line.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • FCV falls to Millcreek

    It may go down as one of the oddest games in Region 8 history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Meadville captures Section 1 title over DuBois

    For anyone confused about all the fire truck sirens and honking car horns that echoed through the streets of Meadville around 5 p.m. on Sunday, here’s the explanation:

    July 22, 2014

  • District 1 showcases 'D' in victory

    A strong defense up the middle is often where championship teams are born. The District 1 Senior League softball team certainly fills the bill.

    July 22, 2014

  • Trevor Smith St. Marys tops METS to win title

    When it’s two good teams going head-to-head in the game of baseball, sometimes a simple bad bounce can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy builds 6-shot lead at British Open

    Rory McIlroy looks as if he has just thrown a knockout punch at the British Open, and it was only Saturday.

    July 19, 2014

  • osborne.jpg District 1 rolls in state opener

    Evidently, Jenkins Township wasn’t aware of Mark McKissock’s exceptional coaching skills.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Andrew Mook Meadville rallies in seventh for victory

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Union City wins thriller

    Down to its last out of the seventh inning, the Union City Junior League softball team recorded three base hits, including a walk-off game-winner by Bree Kinney, while defeating McLane/Meadville/Vernon 3-2 in a thrilling loser’s bracket final of the Pennsylvania Section 1 All-Star tournament on Thursday at Cochranton.

    July 17, 2014

  • Lake/Linesville dealt heartbreaker

    Throughout the District 1 and Section 1 tournaments, Fred Garvey watched as his Lake/Linesville all-star baseball team battled time and time again.

    July 17, 2014

Sports Scoreboard
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Business Marquee
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts
Poll

The latest proposed expansion plan for the Crawford County Courthouse potentially would eliminate the former Tarr Mansion on Diamond Park to make room for a county administrative building. Should the 1860 mansion be demolished?

Leave it alone because it’s historic.
Try to incorporate it into the proposed expansion.
It’s too far gone to save, but it’s memory may be preserved with an artifacts and photo display within the proposed courthouse complex.
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks