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Julius “Julz” Ancheta demonstrates the Sutter Sports Lab’s new 3D motion analysis system with Carina Bender-Abrams. The K-motion system is being used with Davis High school golf and baseball players. Lev Farris Goldenberg/Enterprise photo

Sports

Sutter Clinic looks to bridge physical therapy and performance

On Thursdays, Sutter Health Physical and Hand Therapy holds a movement and boxing class.

Athletes jabbing, bobbing and weaving around the clinic on Lake Boulevard in West Davis are not what one might expect. In fact, many of them are Parkinson’s disease patients.

365体育滚球The boxing program — called balance-driven boxing — is one part of the newly upgraded Sutter Sports Performance Lab. Since receiving a Sutter philanthropy grant last year, the lab hopes to explore new avenues of physical therapy.

According to Sutter Lab orthopedic physical therapist Carina Bender-Abrams, the facility’s primary goal is to get patients back to their prior level of function.

365体育滚球“For some folks that’s getting out of bed easily, going up and down your stairs without a problem, getting in and out of the car,” says Bender-Abrams, a UC Davis graduate. “And for other people, it’s a 99-mile-per-hour fastball.”

365体育滚球At the Sutter Lab, the hope is to inhabit that intersection.

365体育滚球“We’re looking to bridge the gap between traditional physical therapy and performance,” Bender-Abrams says.

“A lot of the time physical therapy, especially in the insurance-based model, stops when people get to basic function. We call that activities of daily living. Things that everybody needs to be able to do — get dressed, take care of yourself.

“And when people need more than that, sometimes (traditional) physical therapy does not continue enough, in our opinion.”

With new equipment and a fresh philosophy, the lab aims to take further steps to help clients not only recover but to excel. One step has been to partner with local youth sports.

Together with Performance 22 (owned by Davis High and UCD graduate Josh Reese), the clinic put on a six-week winter-training camp for baseball players with the goal of movement training and stability.

Using a 3D-motion analysis system — which the lab recently invested in — they performed movement screening on players and gave “report cards” on areas in which they could improve.

“It happens to be that the training that improves performance in a smart way also helps prevent injuries,” Bender-Abrams says.

Blue Devil baseball, under new coach Ethan Guevin, and golf, with new coach Zeb Becker, also are getting into movement testing. After screening the ballplayers, the lab teaches them exercises based on what the athletes are not doing well.

The DHS athletes use something called K-Motion, a 3D screening tech that is popular in pro baseball and golf training programs. Sensors are strapped onto the upper body, upper back, pelvis, arm and bat or club.

After the player stands still for a second to calibrate, they swing away while the sensors send 3D-motion data to a computer.

365体育滚球“We can check and make sure that all the pieces of their system that need to move well are, indeed, moving well,” Bender-Abrams says. “So that from a coaching perspective we’re not asking them to do something they can’t do.

“The philosophy here is there’s not really one way to swing a bat or throw a baseball or swing a golf club, it’s what works efficiently for that person.”

365体育滚球Bender-Abrams, who earned her master’s degree in biomechanics while at UC Davis, says for young athletes, learning how their body moves is especially important.

“The thing that we tell the kids, is that the only piece of equipment you have and will always have is your body,” Bender-Abrams adds. “In two years, you’re gonna need different cleats, a different glove, but you’re always going to have your body.”

Avoiding injury — and as importantly, learning how to prevent it — is vital for high-school athletes hoping to play at the next level. Bender-Abrams says that being aware of how the body moves is good for anyone who stays active:

“I want to be more available for bio-mechanical testing, which is movement testing and the motion analysis, in order to help drive better performance and smarter training, especially for young athletes, but regardless of age.”

365体育滚球The Sutter Health clinic also is working with Davis Little League this year, hoping to expand its movement-testing program even further.

Little League, high school, adults … All those opportunities will mean more movement classes, more interaction with coaches — and eventually more Parkinson’s patients gliding like Muhammad Ali.

— Reach Lev Farris Goldenberg at [email protected]

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