SVSP in Texas with USA Football

Anna Foster, LAT, ATC and several other SVSP staffers are in Dallas this week with the US National Football Team. Here’s a blog straight from the sidelines.


“Teamwork makes the dreamwork.” It’s a pretty common slogan that’s thrown around in and out of the sports world. I may be a little biased but I grew up around football, and as an athletic trainer the sport gets a bad rep in the medical world. No doubt it’s a tough and physical sport, but if you appreciate the finesse of the game you’ll find that it is one of the only true team sports left. The QB can’t get the ball off for a throw without his O-Line protecting him; the linebackers can’t get to the QB without his D-Line opening a hole. It’s really quite a fun game to watch and appreciate.


SVSP’s Team in Dallas

We had all of ages of USA Football covered, bringing seven athletic trainers and one team physician to Dallas. I worked closely with the U-15 team, a group of 8th graders just learning to perfect their craft. I am humbled to see these young men work hard and learn to be a part of a team. On Monday, we had a hard-hitting practice and a player came to me after a some hard contact.


After performing an initial concussion review, I had our team physician, Dr. Pat Kersey, take a closer look.


Dr. Kersey, USA Footballs medical director, is well versed in concussions and watching his technique and evaluation protocol is truly artwork to me. After a thorough evaluation, Pat determined that the player may have had a small concussive event, but due to a previous issue, he may have not fully recovered. An eye test revealed a vestibular component to his injury and finding it may have changed his life.


After this revelation and a discussion with his father, it was determined that this could be why he has eye problems as well as issues with math and reading in school. It was a groundbreaking discovery and another humbling example of the impact that we have as athletic trainers and physicians.


It has been a whirlwind down here in Dallas, sometimes causing me to lose track of which day it is! It has definitely been worth the time to get to see these young men play the sport they love, but also to spend time with our close-knit team. The next time you are at a football game, take a glance at the sideline and find the team of medical professionals. Sometimes it’s fun to watch the group of athletic trainers and physicians run around with such finesse, not one being able to work as well without the other!

Meet the 2016 SVSP Football Pre-Draft Squad

The 2016 SVSP Football NFL Pre-Draft program is well underway after kicking off in early January. You may have already seen a few of these guys on our social channels, but here’s a little more on each athlete that enrolled in our program to get one step closer to their dreams.

Ben Bio

Brandon Bio

Cole Bio

Davonte Bio

Mitch Bio

Reece Bio

Sam Bio

Temarrick Bio

Tevaun Bio

To see these guys in action, check out the intro video below:

On the Road with USA Track & Field, Part 6

St. Vincent Sports Performance is partnered with several National Governing Bodies including USA Track and Field. Dr. Todd Arnold of SVSP is a performance scientist for USATF, helping its athletes prep for major national and international events. Here’s a dispatch from Dr. Arnold’s travels.


IMG_0656.jpgThe week comes to a close.  Three cities in four days: Austin, LA and Chula Vista, Cali. But the end of this week is actually a great one. Today, we were on the campus of the Olympic Training Center in southern California. It is always great to be on site.  If you want to experience pride in your country this is the place to be.  Most on site are US athletes, preparing for the Olympics or Paralympics. I can feel the seriousness when I talk with the athletes. Everything here is focused on the games. Olympic rings are everywhere (even on the sliding glass doors to the balconies of the residencies). The flag of the rings proudly flies at the entrance. There is a cauldron for the flame to burn locally.


Today, we worked with Miller Moss and Kiani Profit. Ryan Harber, LAT, ATC and I analyzed their movement patterns while Dr. Mann worked on their hurdling and block start mechanics. Their great movement patterns are typical for multi athletes. We attribute this to the variety of training they complete in order to perform their events. They have to throw, jump, hurdle and run to accumulate points. This leaves them devoid of many asymmetries and dysfunctional movement patterns that many single sport athletes acquire. They also have to train for multiple events simultaneously, often pushing their bodies through two practices a day over five to six hours. This makes it exceptionally important that we identify any dysfunctional patterns and correct them before they put hours of fitness on top of their dysfunction.


Kiani Profit undergoing a Y balance test

Today was the first time we have worked with Miller both from a movement standpoint and on-track analysis. He was a complete sponge and related the movement dysfunction we identified with mechanics he feels are lacking in some of his disciplines. In terms of movement, I told him quite honestly he is in a great place. He is in a position to improve in many ways by feeling his body adapt to these stimuli.


Today was a follow up for Kiani as we saw her in early 2014.  She informed us that she was diagnosed with an injury in 2014, one month after her last evaluation. This injury limited her ability to train and compete later that year and into 2015. After her movement assessment, it is clear she is markedly better than she was at her last evaluation. Now that she is moving painlessly, I can clearly see where her injury was previously. In hindsight, serial data on her injuries would have helped us alert her of her impending issues and how to quickly resolve them. Her most important challenges lie ahead of her. Today, she feels good and has her eyes on the podium at the US Olympic trials later this summer in Eugene.

Keep an eye on Miller and Kiani as they dedicate hours a day perfecting their craft in preparation of the 2016 Olympic games!

#LiveHealthy Sweepstakes Official Rules

Enter to win two tickets to the Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks game on Thursday, January 28 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Just tag us (on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram) in your pics and use #LiveHealthy for a chance to win. Official Rules below.




These Official Rules apply to the St. Vincent Sports Performance #livehealthy Sweepstakes (“Sweepstakes”).  The sponsor of this Sweepstakes is St. Vincent Sports Performance (“Sponsor”). The Sweepstakes is being administered by The Ungar Group, LLC, d/b/a U/S Sports Advisors (“Sweepstakes Administrator”).  By entering, participants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and that all decisions of Sponsor in its sole discretion will be final and binding in all matters relating to the Sweepstakes.


  1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.  Void where prohibited and restricted by law.


  1. PARTICIPATION CONSTITUTES ACCEPTANCE OF RULES AND DECISIONS, CONSENT TO USE AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS. By entering this Sweepstakes, each Participant (defined below) warrants that he or she has read and agrees to abide by all sweepstakes rules (“Official Rules”) and that he or she is not prohibited from participating in this Sweepstakes.  Participation in this Sweepstakes is open only to those 18 years of age or older), and such participation constitutes participant’s full and unconditional acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, its officers, directors, employees and agents, its related entities and affiliates, and their collective and respective officers, directors, employees and agents (collectively, “Sponsor Entities”),  and the Sweepstakes Administrator, its officers, directors, employees and agents, its related entities and affiliates, and their collective and respective officers, directors, employees and agents (collectively, “Sweepstakes Administrator Entities”), which are final, binding and non-negotiable in all respects. Sponsor Entities, Sweepstakes Administrator Entities and Pacers Basketball, LLC, and its officers, directors, employees and agents, its parents, subsidiaries, related entities and affiliates, and their collective and respective officers, directors, employees and agents (collectively, “Pacers Entities”) are together referred to as the “Released Entities.”  Each participant (individually and collectively the “Participant”) releases, discharges, indemnifies and holds harmless the Released Entities from any liability arising from or related to the sweepstakes and/or the receipt or use of the prizes awarded in connection with the sweepstakes, including without limitation, personal injury, death, and property damage, and claims based on publicity rights, defamation, or invasion of privacy.  Further, Participant fully and unconditionally releases, by way of example and not limitation, all claims for consideration, violation of the right of publicity or privacy, copyright infringement and all other claims of any nature relating to the use of Participant’s entry, name or likeness, and all other claims of any nature resulting to the use of the entry.
  2. The sweepstakes is open to persons who are legal residents of Indiana and 18 years of age or older by the opening of the Entry Period.  Employees, agents, independent dealers and affiliates of the Released Entities and immediate family members of all such persons, are not eligible to participate in this sweepstakes.  The Released Entities reserve the right at their sole discretion to:  (i) cancel, terminate, modify, suspend or amend this sweepstakes at any time for any reason without prior notice, (ii) amend these Official Rules at any time without prior notice, at their sole discretion, and (iii) disqualify any Participant for any reason, including, but not limited to, violation of these Official Rules or infringement of the rights of a third party.  This promotion is void where prohibited by law.  The Released Entities are not responsible for any printing or typographical errors in any material associated with the sweepstakes. The Released Entities have no obligation to notify a Participant of his/her disqualification.


  1. ENTRY PERIOD. Sweepstakes begins on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (“EST”) and ends on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 4:59 p.m. EST (“Entry Period”).  All times determined by Sponsor’s clock.  Entries received after this date and time will not be valid.


  1. HOW TO ENTER. During the Entry Period, persons who meet the eligibility requirements and have read accepted these Official Rules may enter via either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  Participants may enter by commenting or posting pictures on how they plan to “#LiveHealthy” in 2016.  Entrants must tag Sponsor by using “@definingsports” and use the “#LiveHealthy” hashtag to enter.


Facebook, Twitter and Instagram’s terms and conditions apply, respectively.  Please visit,, and to learn more.


Limit one (1) entry per person during the Entry Period, regardless of method of entry.  Should more than one (1) entry per person be received, Sponsor reserves the right to void all such entries.


Entries made by commercial sweepstakes subscription notification and/or entering service sites are ineligible. Entries submitted using bots or any automated technologies are ineligible.  Normal internet access and usage charges imposed by your online service may apply.

Electronic entries will be considered to have been made by the individual associated with the username and/or email account from which the entry is received. Persons submitting entries under false pretenses will be disqualified. The Released Entities reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process. Caution:  any attempt by a Participant to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil laws and, should such an attempt be made, the Released Entities reserve the right to prosecute and seek damages from any such Participant to the fullest extent of the law. The Released Entities are not responsible for telecommunications, network, electronic, technical or computer failures of any kind, including but not limited to garbled, mis-sent, lost, or stolen computer transmissions or defects or errors relating to the submission of Participant entries.  Entries will become the property of Sponsor for promotional and other use.


  1. Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received during the Entry Period.


  1. SELECTION OF WINNERS. Winner will be selected in a random drawing conducted by Sponsor on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 from among all eligible entries received during the Entry Period.  Prize will be awarded January 28, 2016, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.


  1. PRIZES & APPROXIMATE RETAIL VALUES (“ARV”). One (1) Grand Prize will be awarded.  Grand Prize is two (2) tickets for winner and one (1) guest to the Indiana Pacers versus the Atlanta Hawks game on Thursday, January 28, 2017 at 7:00 P.M. EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, located at 125 S Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46204.  ARV: $200.


  1. PRIZE RESTRICTIONS. All federal, state and local taxes and duties are the sole responsibility of the winner. Prize may not be transferred, substituted or redeemed for cash. Unclaimed prizes will not be awarded.  No more than one (1) GRAND PRIZE will be awarded during the Sweepstakes.  The Released Entities reserve the right to substitute a prize or prizes of the same or greater value at their sole discretion.




  1. WINNER NOTIFICATION. Sponsor will notify the winners by direct messaging and will tag the wineron the original social media channel of posting/participation, using the information provided by participant on its submission, on Wednesday, January 27, 2016.  The winners must accept the prize by signing and returning the Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release no later than Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 11:59 A.M. EST.  No prize will be awarded until such documentation is received by Sponsor.  A PARTICIPANT IS NOT A WINNER OF ANY PRIZE UNLESS AND UNTIL PARTICIPANT’S ELIGIBILITY HAS BEEN VERIFIED AND PARTICIPANT HAS BEEN NOTIFIED THAT VERIFICATION IS COMPLETE.  The winners are responsible for any taxes associated with the prize. The winners’ names and photos may appear on the Indiana Pacers websites and social media accounts, St. Vincent Sports Performance’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as the website. Unclaimed prizes may not be awarded.


  1. Because personal information from Participants will be collected by entering this Sweepstakes, Participants should review the privacy policy posted on By entering this sweepstakes, Participant authorizes the Released Entities to contact Participant for commercial purposes via fax, telephone, or e-mail addresses listed on the Participants entry form.  This Agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Indiana, without giving effect to conflicts of law rules.  By executing this Agreement, Participant consents to the exclusive venue and jurisdiction of the state and federal courts of Indianapolis, Indiana, in all disputes arising out of or related to these Official Rules.

By entering into this sweepstakes, Participant hereby grants to the Released Entities, the right to use, edit, publish, and reproduce, for all purposes, including publicity, promotion, and advertising, in any medium or format whether now known or to be developed or discovered in the future, his or her image, voice, likeness, distinctive appearance, gestures, name, signature and/or mannerisms (collectively, “Publicity Materials”).  Participant gives the Publicity Materials free of charge, and acknowledges that the Publicity Materials may be treated as non-confidential and non-proprietary and may be used by the Released Entities, for any purpose, without Participant’s consent or any compensation to him/her, or anyone else.  Participant waives all rights to inspect or approve the Publicity Materials, or the advertising or other copy that may be used in connection therewith or the use to which the Publicity Materials may be applied.  Participant hereby releases, discharges and holds the Released Entities harmless from any and all liability and/or damages arising out of or in connection with the Publicity Materials and the use of any other materials resulting from his/her participation in this sweepstakes.  This Agreement is irrevocable, is effective in perpetuity and throughout the world, and applies to the Released Entities, their assigns, designees, contractors, sub-licensees, distributors, successors, and agents.  Participant has read and understands this Agreement.  This Agreement shall be binding upon Participant and Participant’s heirs, legal representatives and assigns.


  1. COPIES OF OFFICIAL RULES & WINNER’S NAME. These Official Rules are available at The winner’s name will be posted at on one or more of the social media channels listed in section 10, within 1 day after the close of the Entry Period.  For a copy of the winner’s name or these Official Rules, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your request to U/S Sports Advisors, 250 E 96th Street , Suite 450, Indianapolis, IN 46240, by March 1, 2016. Vermont residents may omit return postage.


  1. This Sweepstakes is sponsored by St. Vincent Sports Performance, located at St.Vincent Sports Performance, – Northwest, 8227 Northwest Blvd., Suite 160, Indianapolis, N 46278, (317) 415-5747.  This Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored or administered by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bankers Life Fieldhouse or Pacers Sports and Entertainment. Participants are providing their personal information to Sponsor, and not to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bankers Life Fieldhouse or Pacers Sports and Entertainment. 


  1. SWEEPSTAKES ADMINISTRATOR. This Sweepstakes is administered by The Ungar Group, LLC, d/b/a U/S Sports Advisors, located at 250 E. 96th, #450, Indianapolis, IN 46240.


On the Road with USA Track & Field, Part 5

St. Vincent Sports Performance is partnered with several National Governing Bodies including USA Track and Field. Dr. Todd Arnold of SVSP is a performance scientist for USATF, helping its athletes prep for major national and international events. Here’s a dispatch from Dr. Arnold’s travels.

Fun trip to LA…We had the opportunity to see one of our most established USATF athletes and an up-and-comer during our visit out west.


Working with Dawn Harper-Nelson is amazing.  She is a two-time Olympian with a gold and silver medal in the 100-meter hurdle.  At this stage in her career you would think she would be resting on her previous accomplishments, but not for her. She is all about hard work and getting better at every chance. On high speed hurdle analysis, Dr. Mann pointed out an issue as she went over the barrier. Subtle changes like this can add up after 10 hurdles and changing her makes her more competitive and much harder to beat.  As they were reviewing video, we noticed Dawn’s left hip did not move symmetrically with her right one as she sat down, crossing her legs. On more detailed exam it was clear that she was asymmetric and after discussion it was clear that she likely could not do the move she was being asked to accomplish over the barrier. After some brief hands-on work, mobility gained and Dawn could feel the difference instantly! With some work over the next few weeks focused on this range of motion and some additional drills from Coach Kersee and Dr. Mann, hopefully she will be able to make this change and return to the top of the podium in Rio.


Kori Carter appears to be a rising star in the 400-meter hurdles. She went pro in 2014 after studying at Stanford. Later that year, she won the USATF outdoors and followed that up with a third place finish last summer. We first meet her in December 2015 and spent time analyzing her movement patterns. A weakness we identified seemed related to some things she was being told to correct. This week, we were able to quickly re-evaluate her and and helped her make great strides. She was easily able to do the movement pattern before we left and attributes this to the exercises she has been working on and her program with her strength coach. Though she hasn’t competed yet in 2016, this change will hopefully lead her to the top of many podiums in 2016.


Please seek out and share your support for these great athletes as they sacrifice and train hard for the 2016 season with their eyes on the  Rio Games.

On the Road with USA Track & Field, Part 4

Back on the road after a weekend at home.  At least we are leaving the cold to go somewhere warmer as it was 8 degrees with 25 mph winds when I left Indianapolis!


The first stop is Texas.  Austin offers outdoor training year round, although most days there is a strong wind.  Maybe running into the wind is an advantage, adding an additional layer of resistance.

Ryan Harber

Ryan Harber

Sprinters need to be able to rev their engine as high as it will go and hope body parts don’t come spinning off.  It’s all about applying as much force to the ground as possible, but doing it with rapid leg turn over.  These athletes work in the weight room to generate strength and push their muscles to do incredibly quick contractions; and then do it again and again until the race is over.


From my perspective, it always seems that they are right on the edge of injury.  They don’t just walk the fine line between injury and success, they dance on it.  They need to run regularly, but they also can’t afford to do full speed sprints and explosions out of the blocks every day.  Assessing their status early in the season is crucial and can help prevent injuries later in the year.  Many are coming from an “off-season” of weight lifting, which leaves them less flexible after trying to add muscle to create power.  Tightness is an interesting thing, though.  After caring for these sprinters for 6 years my philosophy has changed.  In the past I wanted flexibility from my sprinters, making their tissue pliable which reduces injuries.  But over time I have learned that the best of the best are not flexible.  Taught muscles store energy as they strike the ground and this energy is given back as they push off again.  This is true of all runners, and sprinters use maximum force to push off the ground.  I have accepted the tightness found in the gastroc soleus muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps.


As I explained earlier, we believe athletes should be able to move in certain ways.  Sports require flexion, extension, and rotation; there are just varying quantities depending on the sport, position, and goal.  But each athlete must have basic control over these movements.  Sprinters are often challenged in these tasks given the tightness their bodies possess.  Tightness limits flexion. Over the years, athletes have bought into our philosophy that better movement helps them perform at their best. They become thoughtful and proactive about working on movement patterns that lead to more success on the track.


This trip we are working with athletes that train with Coach Darryl Woodson (known as D2).  They include Michael Rodgers, Natasha Hastings, Michael Tinsley, Jasmine Hyder, Bianca Knight, and Mookie Salaam.  As always, I would encourage you to follow these athletes as they pursue faster speeds while preparing for the Olympics in Rio later this year.

What Bacteria? Gut Bacteria!

What exactly does bacteria in your gut have to do with health? Well, let’s start with the basics; everyone has their own gut microbiota, a population of bacteria residing in the intestine. The microbiota is made up of tens of trillions of microorganisms and is unique to each individual. Regardless of which bacteria populate your gut, those teeny tiny organisms all fulfill the same physiological function, which has a direct impact on your health.  So where did these bacteria come from, and what determines which bacteria you get? It all begins with your mother.  As a newborn, your digestive tract is quickly colonized by microorganisms from your mom and affected by the environment in which you were born (the place, the air, materials present, etc.). The composition of your gut bacteria is directly dependent on how you were fed at an early age.  By age three, your gut microbiota is more stable and similar to that of most adults, but will continue to evolve throughout your life.


Now that there’s a basic understanding of how your gut became filled with bacteria, let’s talk about how those bacteria impact your health.  First and foremost, these tiny organisms help to digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine are not able to digest, such as dietary fibers. In doing so, your gut microbiota helps regulate your appetite, nutrient storage, and energy production.  The gut microbiota also helps produce micronutrients such as vitamins B and K, which are essential for energy production (vitamin B), blood coagulation (vitamin K), and bone health (vitamin K).  In addition, those tiny organisms pack a big punch when it comes to preventing and fighting off illness.  By helping to fight off bacterial pathogens and programing your immune system, your gut essentially creates a protective barrier to help you stay healthy!


There are ways to alter your gut microbiota, and believe it or not, the biggest changes can come from your diet.  It’s been shown that over eating and high fat diets have negative affects on your gut microbiota and therefore your overall health.  Consuming a well balanced diet that includes whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and plenty of fruits and vegetables is the best way to ensure a healthy gut, which leads to a healthier you.



[Free] Running Education Series

Prepping for the Mini Marathon or another race this spring? Looking to learn more about running? SVSP is offering a FREE Running Education Series. Beginning January 13, the eight week series will cover all aspects of running from the physical to mental.

running sunset

Our Licensed Athletic Trainers and doctors will discuss how to avoid knee and hip pain and reduce your risk for stress fractures. Sports dietitians will share tips for proper meal planning and the importance of good nutrition. A sport & performance psychologist, and avid runner, offers advice on mental toughness and training your brain for a good race. Plus, you’ll get to try an AlterG Treadmill and zip into Normatec Recovery boots.

It’s all free and located locally at St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel. Register now!

On the Road with USA Track & Field, Part 3

St. Vincent Sports Performance is partnered with several National Governing Bodies including USA Track and Field. Dr. Todd Arnold of SVSP is a performance scientist for USATF, helping its athletes prep for major national and international events. Here’s a dispatch from Dr. Arnold from his travels.


Sam Kendricks performing an upper extremity Y balance test. This test looks at shoulder strength and mobility and is a great. Pole vaulters need strength!

Sam Kendricks performing an upper extremity Y balance test. This test looks at shoulder strength and mobility and is a great. Pole vaulters need strength!

Up next is the annual Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada on January 15-16.  The event is awesome, taking place in an arena usually reserved for rodeos! Fans can sit right at the end of or along the runway; it almost feels like the athletes are going to launch themselves into the first few rows during some events. At times, nearly 20 runways, fanned out like spokes on a wheel, are being used.  The host hotel, The Nugget, is a constant buzz from morning until night.  Hundreds of athletes from both high schools and colleges attend the summit.  They come to learn, they come to jump with expert advice and they come to be together.  It really is a great atmosphere that I have not experienced at other Track and Field events.


Assessing these elite athletes is a great honor.  At this event we commonly see the country’s best vaulters. Some are established and some are the up and comers.  They are amazing athletes that need enough speed to propel themselves down the runway and enough strength to prevent themselves from being ripped apart with every jump.  An elite vaulter once told me it feels a little like he would imagine running full speed down a runway and launching himself into a brick wall would feel.  And then do it again 5 more times (or more in practice).  Most of them have participated in other sports in the past and somehow thought it would be a good idea to launch themselves 15-20 feet into the air and hope they hit the soft padding on the other side.  The past sport experiences sometimes gives them better movement patterns; other times it hurts them and has left them with chronic problems that we have to work with.


Most of these athletes train separately but they become quite close once they get together.  Maybe it is the shared risk. This seems to help foster increased competitiveness on our testing.  One of our tests is the FMS (Functional Movement Screen) which is scored on how well an athlete performs 7 neurodevelopmental movements.  It is a pass/fail test that also generates a number score, the best being a 21.  The athletes talk about the posted scores and become determined to beat the scores of others.  In the past this competitiveness has lead to athletes asking to be retested after they found out their score was not as high as another athlete’s score.  This is not the way the test was designed but we’re willing to play along.  Most of these vaulters move phenomenally well so we are splitting hairs regarding who can do things better.  Since they do move so well on the screen, a great deal of our time is spent fine tuning strength programs.  Shoulders and thoracic spines are a regular focus as these are the regions that see so much force and therefore require optimal functioning to perform the event successfully.


This week is special for many of reasons, but mostly because of the athletes. This year, we worked with Mary Saxer and Becky Holliday, athletes we have been seeing since as early as 2012. Others we’re just getting to know, such as Sam Kendricks, Melissa Gergel, Katie Nageotte, Sandi Morris and Andrew Irwin.  Please look these athletes up and support them as they are preparing for the Olympic trials and the 2016 Olympic Games.


On the Road with USA Track & Field, Part 2

St. Vincent Sports Performance is partnered with several National Governing Bodies including USA Track and Field. Dr. Todd Arnold of SVSP is a performance scientist for USATF, helping its athletes prep for major national and international events. Here’s a dispatch from Dr. Arnold from his travels. 

Ryan Harber

Ryan Harber

Another week brings another chance. This week Ryan Harber, ATC and I are in Colorado to work with coaches Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs and their runners. This trip is a special one for me as it takes me to my home state of Colorado and back to Boulder where I spent many days a youngster. We arrived about 3 p.m. MT and took advantage of the last hour of sunlight with a run along Boulder Creek path. Fun to think this is a path that multiple Olympians past and future run regularly. The altitude is punishing on your lungs!


These runners may have the best place in the world to train and live (maybe I am biased!). But I think they know this and appreciate what they have. The altitude has been shown to enhance long distance running physiology. They also have a beautiful place to train with a tremendous variety of terrain to run. Runners have great support on campus, in town and in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training center.


We get to see these runners several times a year and were privileged to care for them this past summer in Europe during the Diamond League meets. From a performance standpoint that is great to know them well and we do. Our strong rapport allows us to give them open and detailed information about how they have changed since we saw them last. Data is really valuable and helps us pick up on subtle changes that we might be able to alter and potentially prevent an injury or limit potential.


One runner who is returning to full activity needed help on how to go from rehab mode to full training  and then maintenance. This is not always the easiest thing to do given the work long distance runners put in during a week. Getting back to something like 80, 90 or maybe 100 miles per week in 9-12 runs per week is a delicate balance.


Another runner is feeling great, currently running 80 miles a week and ready to attack the season, and compete for the US Olympic team. We spent about 45 minutes with her in the weight room.  This time was spent working on “core control.” Her coach noticed that she cannot do some exercises others seem to perform with ease. She has a lot of curvature to her low back and trying to reduce this has been futile.  Could this be a limitation to better performance? Could it be putting her at risk for injury? In that 45 minutes, she showed us what she is doing a few times per week (core exercises, planks, TRX, hanging leg ups) so we could review her form. We discussed changes to how the exercises were performed, some dramatic, others subtle. Many changes included giving her the ability to “feel” what was happening so that it could more easily be controlled. The thought is give her success with either making the exercise easier or giving her an external input to ensure she is doing them correctly.  Sometimes less is better and we cut down the number of reps with some exercises to ensure she always finished in proper form. That way, this neuromuscular pattern is the pattern she walks out with, as opposed to the poor form she was using.


Some athletes are returning from injury and just starting to feel like they are back. Others feel great and just need just a subtle alteration or reassurance that they are doing well. This is where the world of medicine and performance intersect. Our primary goal is to help keep them healthy. But it is also about helping them perform at their best, which they do better if they are healthy. Variety makes the job hard for us, but it indeed gives us energy to attack the next athlete with the same passion they put into training.  We will see them again soon, but I wish it was scheduled for next week.