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CrossFit for High Schoolers

CrossFit for High Schoolers
In high school and even earlier, serious athletes are continuing to train year-round in their single sport. The result? A loss in general fitness and an increased injuries. CrossFit’s training platform may be the antidote.

Psyched Up, Let Down: The Harvey Moment

Psyched Up, Let Down: The Harvey Moment
Sometimes, small mistakes — like failing to get centered, or get skillful advice — can have huge consequences. We saw an especially painful example during the recent World Series.

Kindness / Competency

Kindness competency
Our emphasis in life is often to be kind or to be competent, —but how often are we taught how to be both, especially when the stakes are high?

Pro Athletes: Where is the Advantage?

Pro Athletes:  Where is the Advantage?
Professional athletes have a lot of knowledge and resources - training, nutrition, massage etc. So how can we help them improve? Almost to a person, the one weakness that is most difficult to fix in athletes lies in the mind itself.

Hat tricks: Why they happen

Soccer - goal - finding flow
Hat tricks— three goals in a game, like Carli Lloyd’s feat at the Women’s World Cup—occur because the athlete and the team are in the flow. And success follows success. In surgery, clinical care, work and sports. The question is: Can it be predicted?

Unforced errors

Unforced error - tennis ball hits the net
Why do the most elite athletes in tennis still have concentration lapses? Why do they miss so many shots, make so many unforced errors, have to psyche themselves up between each shot?

Soccer makes us dumber

Studies show heading ball causes brain injury
Why is it that the fun and satisfaction of participating in sports overwhelms our recognition that they could significantly destroy our body, be it the knee or the brain?

It’s OK to want to win

Competitive woman
How can competitiveness be taught? First by making it clear that success is admirable, that it is within reach, and is the pinnacle of achievement.

The great ones don’t look back

 Don't get distracted by mistakes but learn from them later.
In medicine, as with sports, it doesn’t help to be distracted by an unsuccessful approach as you are dealing with the immediate consequences. Practice being a Monday morning quarterback.

A smile reflects joy and radiates warmth

A dancer from Amy Seiwart’s “Imagery: SKETCH 4” was so vibrant that it exuded supreme confidence and spread that to people watching the performance at the ODC Dance Theater. A great smile can also be the sign of a healthy individual.
A dancer's performance is up close and personal. It's not only their seemingly effortless technique that determines their success but also their attitude. Their expression reflects this. Those dancers who grace their performances, their injuries and their recoveries with the smile that mirrors their joy, do the best.

If horses could dream, could Chrome have won Triple Crown?

If horses could dream, could Chrome have won Triple Crown?
What makes an athlete, animal or human, perform at their peak repeatedly and then suddenly, out of nowhere, perform subpar? The answer may lie more in the mind than in the body.

Mental focus can aid in recovery from injury

Mental focus can aid in recovery from injury
In surgical practice, we note that people who are really good at visualization recover from surgery faster. They feel less pain and achieve their goals earlier.

Don’t pedal faster than you can daydream

Don’t pedal faster than you can daydream
The end goal of activity was once a natural, post-exercise endorphin glow. Now this has been sidelined in favor of statistics and data. We focus less on how we feel and more on how we measured up to our previous results.

How to heal like Kobe Bryant

How to heal like Kobe Bryant

The news that Kobe Bryant has "shattered" the timetable for recovery from his Achilles tendon repair is no doubt heartening for Los Angeles Lakers fans.

Speaking in China, Kobe told NBA.com "Three-and-a-half months [and] I can already walk just fine, I'm lifting weights with the Achilles just fine and that's different. So we don't know what that timetable is going to be. It's kind of new territory for us all."

This fast-forward recovery is also inspiring to orthopedic surgeons. There is something incredible about witnessing a professional athlete work their way back from a catastrophic injury, the way Bryant appears to be doing. When he ruptured his Achilles on April 12 against the Warriors, his spirit was clearly broken.

"Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was," he vented on his Facebook page. "Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me."

Kobe's despair that first weekend was understandable. An Achilles tendon rupture is a devastating injury, requiring many months of rehabilitation. However, it didn't take long for this despair to turn to determination. We see this in many of our athletes, especially the pros. They are down, then something clicks and their focus switches to recovery. They don't ever lose sight of this.

As surgeons, we learn the most from our athlete patients who push the limits. They teach us what is possible and often destroy the "traditional thinking" about tissue healing. They bring their focus, dedication and professional mind-set to the job of healing.

This is why I encourage each of my patients to think of themselves as "an athlete in training" and not "a patient in rehab." It makes a difference, even if, unlike Kobe, they are not able to make recovery a full-time job.

Our job as physicians and surgeons is to continually improve the care we give. The most common approach to an Achilles rupture is to open up the wound, unfortunately losing the valuable cells and growth factors that the body has produced around the injury site to begin the repair process. It also creates a large scar.

At The Stone Clinic, we have learned that the less you disturb the healing tissues, the better and faster they heal. In the case of Achilles tendon ruptures, even nonsuperathletes can heal rapidly if the surgeon leaves the healing clot intact, keeps the tendon sheath (the layer of membrane around a tendon) closed and pulls the frayed, mop-endlike rupture together without opening the skin.

With our biologic approach, we treat the rupture with a percutaneous technique, which is suture repair through small holes in the skin. This way, we reduce scarring and risk of infection and most importantly, we take advantage of the body's own natural ability to heal itself. In the weeks following the procedure, we speed up the healing process still further by adding an injection of the patient's own blood-derived growth factors, which promote tissue regeneration.

Regardless of the procedure, the strength of the healing tissue varies according to the health and strength of the patient. Whether or not Kobe's tendon has healed strongly enough to bear NBA-level stress is unknown until tested. He has said he hopes to be back on court by November or December. He'll be evaluated near the end of August, after which the Lakers will have a better idea of his return date.

In the meantime, we celebrate Bryant and his doctors' courage to test the limits and we urge anybody who is hurt not to compromise or settle into a rocking chair as Kobe first thought he might have to but to push to become fitter, faster and stronger than they were before they were injured.

First published in SF Examiner

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