Sports Performance Program Helps Young Athletes Stay Healthy

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November 1, 2012 by kujhawk

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Light stretching and warming up, a few sprints, strength and endurance exercises – the staples of any athlete’s training. But at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, these are being taken to the next level.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital Therapy Services has a new program called Sports Performance Training. This program, which began in September, focuses on promoting sports health safety and correct training to prevent injury to athletes.

“We take athletes and put them through an assessment, and we work on making them faster, stronger and quicker,” physical therapist and lead trainer of the Sports Performance Training program Adam Rolf said.

Large Facility Helps

The Sports Performance Training program is located in a 5,000 square foot facility in the 4th Street Health Plaza at the corner of 4th and Maine St. Rolf says the best thing about the size of the facility is the opportunity to add to it.

Right now the facility has a 60-foot by 15-foot indoor agility turf, functional trainers on the wall, resistance training equipment, and medicine balls. But Rolf says more equipment will be added to the facility over time.

“As we continue to develop, we hope to have a net where we can start our adult performance,” Rolf said. “We would like to focus specifically on [adult] golfers and do fitness training for them and their golf game.”

The initial training assessment costs $75, and the training sessions afterwards are $50 per hour. Group training ranges from $12-$18 a session, depending on the number of athletes and their ages.

“We have priced this very affordably, and you very much get a bang for your buck,” Rolf said.

A Program for the Kids

LMH therapy services already provide physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy for adults, but Rolf says trying to prevent injuries in the 9 to 18-year-old range before they happen was a key to starting this program.

“We already offered Fit for Life programming for the older population, but we didn’t have anything for the adolescent, so that’s where this came about,” Rolf said.

The sessions vary between age groups. All of the athletes do a ‘progressive training program’ Rolf says. The 9 to 11-year-olds have 45-minute sessions twice a week, and these last for six to nine weeks. For the middle and high school athletes, there are 60 and 90-minute sessions three times a week.

So far the program is training eight athletes of various ages both male and female. Rolf says the feedback has been positive for the program.

“I feel like they [parents] are very happy from a stand point of how much we focus on building a foundation, an athletic base,” Rolf said. “We aren’t just pushing, ‘let’s get faster, let’s get stronger, we are really making sure they are getting the right kind of fundamentals to develop and then you can build on that platform.”

For Lawrence Free State High School freshman Mika Schrader, a soccer and basketball player, this is exactly what she is looking for.

“What I really want to get out of this is quickness and strength,” Schrader said. “I want to get faster and stronger, and I think this [the training sessions] can help me do that.”

Looking to the Future

Rolf says the biggest difference between this program and others similar to it in Lawrence, is that the trainers working with the athletes want to look out for the athlete’s future, not just the present.

“We look at a long-term athletic development philosophy,” Rolf said. “We are looking at your goals, not only where you want to be in a couple of months, but we are looking at where you are going to be in high school and if you want to be a collegiate athlete,” Rolf said.

Rolf said the facility will continue to develop as more and more athletes hear about the program. Most of the publicity has been word-of-mouth, but as more people train, Rolf hopes news of the Sports Performance Center will spread.

For more information on the program, go to www.LMHsportsrehab.blogspot.com, call 785.505.5975 or email Adam Rolf at adam.rolf@lmh.org.

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