Solutions for Athletes: One Dimension of Support

Athleticism is the culmination of multifactorial components assimilating perfection at the same time.  In the Track & Field athlete participating in the arduous length of an Indoor, spring and summer season challenges these components.  Much like a high performance IndyCar® at the Indy 500 cannot go the distance without engineering feedback, tire changes and chassis adjustments, the USATF athlete cannot go the distance without support.

athlete rub 2

SVSP is in Europe, particularly on the Diamond League circuit, to be the “body mechanics” for these extraordinarily high performance athletes.  Our task is to be the front line of medical and body management support.  This is just one dimension of the solutions provided by SVSP; however, it is the most appropriate given the time of season and the countdown to the IAAF World Championships.


Over the past ten days, July 17-26, our SVSP team has provided hands on care and decision support in Monaco, Leuven, Belgium and London.  The typical service centers on readiness for training and competition; body alignment, joint mobility, muscle activation as well as post activity recovery massage.

athlete rub

A case in point was Friday evening at the London Diamond League meeting at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park when Peter Callahan arrived in the ready room under the Stadium saying, “my legs and hips feel dead”.  Peter, a recent graduate of Princeton and Master’s degree at New Mexico was to pace/rabbit the men’s 3000 meters.  The response by Ralph Reiff, ATC was to take Peter through muscle activation sequences to “turn on” the neuromuscular stimuli of his shoulders, torso,  glutes, hamstrings, adductors, etc.  After the race Peter said he “felt the lights come on” meaning he was energized and fully engaged to complete his athletic moment.


Finding the right solution for the athlete at the right time and delivering it in a manner of acceptance is a major purpose of our team being in Europe assisting the greatest track & field athletes in the world.

Solutions for Athletes: WEBO to Kazan

SVSP talented associates are assisting athletes, coaches, parents, agents, NGB’s and CEO’s from Boone County, Indiana to Kazan, Russia.  Our team of coaches, dieticians, sports psychologist, athletic trainers and physicians are selected by Indiana athletic directors and school boards, CEOs and NGBs to provide oversight services for their athletes. diving


Our SVSP teams are called upon by not only these very important local organizations but also the most elite athlete programs in the world.  Over the past 45 days SVSP has been engaged on-site with USA Football National Teams and Regional Development Camps, USA Diving at the Pan Am Games and at FINA Worlds in Kazan, Russia.  In Indianapolis, our sport & performance psychologist and our sports dietician is engaged daily with the Indiana Pacers of the NBA.  USA Gymnastics calls our athletic trainers to their National Training site for the Women’s Team and this July SVSP launched a one-of-a-kind program for USA Track & Field in Europe.

football track

Fundamentally we are focused upon solutions for athletes.  Inherently we are ‘called’ to be a values-based sports performance program providing safe and ethical solutions.  Most importantly our doors are open to all.

Midwest Shines

Great to see Indiana and the Midwest represented so well today. We are stationed at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London. Each day we convert our room into a treatment space with three exam tables ready to care for USA track and field athletes. Neat day for us as we treated many athletes with direct Midwest connections.



Michael Hartfield  long jumper from Ohio State, Candyce McGrone from Warren Central in Indianapolis (home to USATF) running the 200, Kara Winger Purdue graduate throwing the javelin, Andy Bayer IU graduate running the steeple chase, Molly Ludlow who makes her permanent home in Indianapolis running the 800m, Mary Saxer pole vaulter who competed for Notre Dame, Erik Sowinski 800m runner who ran at Iowa, and Molly Huddle who ran at Notre Dame doing the 5k this weekend.


Through these weeks that we have been on the road we have had the opportunity to work with athletes from all realms of track and field.  We have seen Olympic and world championship medalists and NCAA champions. We have witnessed American and world records being set. We try to offer something from home, something the athletes feel comfortable with. Today it felt a little more like the Midwest.

International Travel

It sounds glamorous.  Traveling from country to country.  Beautiful landscapes, ocean views, great track meets, some of the best athletes in the world.



But it is not always as it seems. Tuesday, July 22 was a travel day.  Our starting point is Leuven Belgium, a college town about 25 km east of Brussels. Destination: central London. Since Leuven is not large the taxi was early.  Short trip to the train station in two cabs. We have three large bags each, two rollers and a table each.  We travel with 4 sets of Normatec boots.


We joke with everyone that we travel “light”!  Once at the station, we missed the first train to Brussels by a few minutes, but there is always another one in 10-15 more. The downfall is it is on a different platform. That means back down the stairs and up to get there, and one of the escalators are functioning.


FullSizeRenderThis train is a commuter train, so the space is really designed for people, not a great deal of baggage.  We consumed most of the overhead space in one car, also using some floor space in and under the seat with the tables that fit. 20 minutes later we are in Brussels and transfer trains to the Echostar line to London. Again we handle the bags dragging and carrying them.  Here we have to go through border control and clear customs.


On Echostar we consume most of the luggage space for car 16. Traveling over 150 mph it only takes 2 hours to arrive at St Pancras station. We drag the bags to the taxi stand. Here in London most taxis are shaped the same with little to no room in the “boot” for baggage. Luckily we get a van that has more room, but still no room in the back.  All the bags are stored on the floor. I am in the back with my legs up on the bags, cramping my hamstrings. Bejan in facing backwards feet on other bags. Handle the bags again to get them into the hotel and we have arrived about 5 hours and 30 minutes later.



We have handled the bags 12 times. Each bag weighs just under 23 kilograms (about 50 pounds).


International travel with the best track team in the world is great when we are working on athletes and athletes are performing at their highest level. But getting there isn’t always the most fun.

Paris, Pins & Productivity

We are 21 days into our European Diamond League coverage for the United States of American Track & Field (USATF) athletes.  The SVSP team of Joel Kary, MD, Ryan Harber, ATC, CSCS and Darrell Barnes, ATC, CSCS arrived in Paris on July 1st.  In support of USA athletes our TEAM assisted 22 athletes including Evan Jager, who set a new American record in the Steeplechase, and a 4oo meter field of women who all went under 2:00.


From Paris the TEAM assembled on the shores of Lake Geneva at Lausanne, Switzerland.  This meet featured the likes of speed merchants Tyson Gay, Allison Felix and Justin Gatlin and middle distance experts like Centrowitz, Rowbury and Emma Cobb.  Our team managed hands on care for 35 top tier USATF athletes.Paris pins

SVSP client and WNBA great Tamika Catchings is Humanitarian of the Year

St.Vincent Sports Performance is devoted to the success of its clients, both on and off the field, pool, or court. That’s why our core values – service, creativity, reverence, integrity, dedication and wisdom – are so important. While we value statistics and data, we value people above all else. Nothing makes us happier than to be able to support those who are equally as devoted to service.


Fever forward and WNBA great Tamika Catchings added another award to her deserving collection  of accolades on Tuesday. Catchings was named the inaugural winner of ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian of the Year during a ceremony in Los Angeles.


The award was given to an athlete “whose continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a positive impact on their community through sports.”


Full story here.

Don’t Take Mental Rehab for Granted

Although summer may seem like a time to get in shape, it’s also a time to recover from injuries for many athletes. A serious injury can bring frequent trips to a physical therapist and a long process for bouncing back. With these trips come injury-specific exercises in order to bring strength back to your body. As important as it may seem to come back better than ever physically, recovering mentally is just as important.


For many athletes, an injury can create a traumatic experience that can damage their physical and mental health. This is no reason to discourage any athlete from getting better because there are many things that can help them recover mentally from their injury. A great first step is keeping a journal. As tedious as it sounds, this helps an athlete track their progress and attitude throughout their recovery process. If keeping a journal, it is important to write in it whenever an athlete is feeling frustrated or upset. If you post in it frequently about how you’re feeling and your rehab, it will help build confidence when you go back and read your entries from previous weeks.



physical therapyAnother great source of mental recovery is having a support system. It is helpful to find a friend or teammate who has suffered and recovered from an injury. Talking with this person and sharing your struggles will help you realize you are not alone and there is hope for your recovery. Don’t be afraid to ask this person questions about how they coped with their frustrations, and how they rebuilt their confidence to perform at their highest level once again. If neither of these methods works, a great option is seeking out a professional for help. A sport psychologist will be there to listen and also help an athlete overcome their emotional fears that come from their injuries. Overall, sport psychology is a growing field and is being sought out by more and more injured athletes. These professionals will teach the athlete many strategies to help them return to their peak performance.


Seeking out professional help is nothing to be embarrassed about, which is a main factor when athletes chose not to see a psychologist. A psychologist will help create a mental plan to help the athlete stay on track to put their injury behind them. They will also be taught visualization skills, which will help them feel more comfortable returning to their sport. Sports psychology is just as important as seeking training or physical therapy in order to achieve an athlete’s best.


Every athlete will recover from an injury differently. There is no one process that will work for all athletes. Everyone reacts to an injury in different ways, and experience different frustrations. It is important to not take the mental recovery of an injury for granted. It needs just as much time to recover as the rest!


When the white coat comes off, so do the gloves!

Dr. Bree Simmons, part of the Performance Medicine team at St.Vincent Sports Performance, has a unique hobby. She’s a Jammer with the Circle City Derby Girls, known as “The Killer Purple.” While her love for derby is strong, so is her desire to use her medical training to make the sport safer.


Step It Up This Summer

School’s out, sun is shining, and the weather heating up can only mean one thing: Summer. With summer comes the time we covet the most, vacation. This is the time for relaxing and taking a break from reality. Whether you’re headed to the beach or relaxing by the pool, these leisurely activities can be transformed into hardcore, effective training. Two of the most widely available resources on the planet, sand and water, can now be used for getting in shape.


A simple training exercise in the sand can turn into a strenuous task. When you exercise in the sand, you’re taking in 100% of the force you apply to it. This is due to its soft and extremely absorbent nature. In return, your muscles must work harder and faster to get the speed, explosiveness, and intensity you desire. The best part about sand is that you can take basically any cardio or leg exercise you do in the gym and bring it to the beach.sand jump

A great exercise you can do practically anywhere is vertical jumps. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, squat down so your knees are slightly bent, and jump straight up, trying to bring your knees to your chest. Do this for three sets, each for 30 seconds. In the sand, you’ll feel the burn quickly. Another simple exercise you can bring with you on vacation is the basic lunge. Step your right leg out in front of you, then squat down, keeping your back straight, until that leg is at a 90° angle. Return to a standing position and repeat the same step with the left leg. Alternate legs for three sets, each set a minute in length. There’s no need to limit your body to these two leg exercises. There are plenty of other exercises you can try in the sand including: squats, sprints, mountain climbers, and jogging. sand lunge

If you’re not near a beach this summer or are just not a fan of the sand, then the pool is a great place to train. The best thing about the pool is that it is practically stress free on your joints. It also has a natural cooling and calming effect on the body. Although these benefits may make this sound like an easy workout, training in the pool can be just as difficult as any other workout, if done right. One of the most difficult and beneficial workouts you can take to the pool with you is sprints. If the pool is around shoulder height, sprint the total length of the pool down and back 10 times. If the pool gets too deep, sprint the width of it 10 times down and back. This may not seem like a lot, but the resistance the water gives you will require extra effort to get any speed.Water running

Like stated before, vertical jumps make a great workout to take anywhere. Standing in an area with the water just below your chest, repeat the same steps as stated for the sand workout, each for 30 seconds. After pushing through this great workout in the pool, you can expect to feel exhausted immediately after. This summer, continue to strive for your peak performance to help you burn off that extra daiquiri by the pool!

May means one thing in Indy

Believe it or not, it’s that time in Indy again. Time for racecar drivers and racing fans from all over the world to flock to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indy 500. We at SVSP are proud to be working with 1/3 of the drivers on the starting grid and SEVEN pit crews!


Drivers participating in the 500 have been gearing up for weeks with rigorous training and preparation. Having worked with elite drivers like Tony Kanaan, over the years we have developed a high performance-training program that is required for these drivers to achieve peak performance when they hit the track.


TK-hatRacing requires a different set of strengths and skills than any other sport. Therefore, a racer’s training regimen must be specially designed to withstand the conditions unique to racing.


The main things that racecar drivers need to focus on in training are endurance, strength and posture. Racing is extremely exhausting due to the tight driving positions with seat belts, heavy control appliances, not to mention the extreme heat they experience from the heavy safety clothing and helmet. Also, the G-forces, vibrations and shocks can take a toll on not only the muscles but also the skeletal system, so a strong core and postural stabilization for drivers is a must.


In order to ensure our drivers are fit to perform at their peak in these conditions, we complete a fitness analysis testing them in six areas on various aspects of their strength, endurance, posture and overall health.


The first of these assessments is the Functional Movement Screen. This is designed to locate any weak links in the driver’s movement pattern. Having a weak link in movement patterns can result in a decrease in performance as well as possible serious injury. With this test, we are able to identify what movements need to be improved so we can work towards greater movement efficiency and decrease the chances of injury.


Two other important tests are the YMCA Bench Press and the Horizontal Pull-Up, which focus on upper body strength and endurance.


The YMCA Bench Press measures the driver’s upper body musccore-with-Feldmanular endurance and strength, two very important components to a driver being able to finish a race strong.


The Horizontal Pull-Up test measures not only strength and endurance, but also stability and balance of the back muscles, shoulders and spine, which are particularly useful in steering.


With the feedback from each of the six screening tests, we are able to build unique and custom programs for each client’s individual needs. After assessing the drivers and addressing their fitness needs, they are ready to compete with confidence and a cutting edge. Ladies and gentleman, start your engines!