Oct 25, 2016
CREC and CCMC Team Up to Help Student-Athletes Prevent Injury
(Windsor, CT) Twice each week, several members of the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering basketball team perform several drills, stopping only to catch their breath and grab some water. Their season hasn’t started yet, but they are working hard to strengthen their skills—and to make sure they stay injury free.
The intense workouts are run by the division of sports physical therapy at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and the goal is to help the student-athletes learn to decrease the risk of knee injury while improving athletic performance.
“We feel like there is a big need,” said Nick Giampetruzzi, a physical therapist who works with the program.
The after-school program is free for CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering student-athletes, and it supports the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center’s overall mission: to improve the physical and emotional health of children through family-centered care, research, education, and advocacy. The center is trying to grow its preventive programs, and this is one way to do it, Giampetruzzi said.
During their sessions with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the student-athletes participate in diverse drills that allow them to develop base workouts. They use bungee cords and harnesses to run with resistance, practice how to land properly, and strength train. At the beginning of the program, they were screened to identify risk factors for lower extremity injuries and tested to assess landing mechanics, power, speed, and agility. They will be tested again at the end of the program in November—just before their basketball season starts.
Joshua Riggs, a CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering senior from Bloomfield, has shown commitment to the program, attending each session with enthusiasm and expressing a desire to get faster and stronger. He wants to lead by example.
“I want to win a championship for my school,” the varsity basketball captain said.
Giampetruzzi says injury prevention programs, such as the one offered at CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering, may decrease knee injuries by 25 percent and ACL injuries by as much as 50 percent in certain populations, and those numbers are important to CREC Athletic Director Jonathan Winer.
“Knee injuries are becoming more prevalent in high school athletics,” Winer says. “We are very fortunate to have Connecticut Children’s Medical Center working with our student-athletes in an effort to decrease their likelihood of incurring substantial injury. The skills that our students are learning will not only assist them in their high school athletic careers, but will also help them as they pursue, or participate in, athletics in college or recreationally.”