Kinetic PT - September 2019


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I’ve given a lot of love to the Cubs in this newsletter in years past, so it’s high time I give the Bears their due. We’ve got our fair share of Packers fans in this neck of the woods (many of my patients reminded me after last year’s painful loss), so I’ll try to tread lightly. But “da Bears” are looking even more promising than they did last year, and I cannot wait for the coming season. I’ve been a Bears fan since before I understood football. To this day, I vividly remember sitting with my dad in the living room every Sunday like clockwork. He’d get excited and whoop and holler at the TV, and I would join in — despite having no idea what was going on. At the time, it just looked like a bunch of guys slamming into each other over and over again. But as I grew, I came to understand that football is just as mental as it is physical. This is part of the reason I love the sport so much. Once you learn the rules, watching a football game feels like viewing a sensational chess match. Behind all the big hits, the sacks, the long bombs, and breakaway runs, an intense strategy game informs every play. The ways offensive and defensive coordinators respond to and anticipate one another’s strategies are almost a game in itself.

the signs of a concussion, and treat it seriously if it occurs. As much as I admire the athletic ability of NFL players, I’ve stopped following individual stars throughout their careers. There was a time when I’d watch every game and memorize stats. But players change teams too quickly these days, and I don’t have the time to keep tabs on multiple games. These days I’m content to sit back and watch the Bears, when they’re good. I even gave up yelling at the TV, or at least I’ve cut back. Of course, when Emilie’s Oregon Ducks are playing, she’s out of her chair every other play! So, we’re both looking forward to another great football season. I’ve got high hopes for the Bears this year — heck, we may even get one over on Green Bay. But, regardless of who wins this year, take some advice from the pro players and don’t ignore your pain. We’re happy to get you up and moving again, even if you come in wearing a cheese hat.

When I got to college, I gained a deep appreciation for those who play football. Pursuing my bachelor’s degree in athletic training, I got to see the sport behind the scenes and work with the players directly. This perspective showed me something you don’t often get on the TV screen — these players are dealing with pain constantly. I’m not just talking about the victims of big tackles, either. Constantly colliding with other players takes its toll on the body. Everyone who goes out on that field basically lives on a physical therapy regimen. Realizing these athletes are pulling off amazing feats of strength and speed, despite significant aches and pains, was incredibly eye-opening. The truth is, you don’t find the same level of injury potential in other sports. Even in hockey, collisions are incidental — they aren’t a vital part of the game. Meanwhile football is a team collision sport . Those who put their bodies through that kind of gameplay really are impressive. This is all to say that I completely understand both sides of the argument when it comes to putting kids in football programs. If it’s what your young athlete wants to pursue, great! But know

Bear Down,

–Mike Ulmer | 1

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