Saturday, December 7, 2013

How to regain your strength after a Neck Injury: Hatcher back in the game

Jason Hatcher, a beast defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, and I trained while he was in L.A. over the team's bye week. He's having a standout year but was sidelined by a Stinger in a week 9 win over the Vikings and lost much of the strength in his left arm.  

Since his injury, the Cowboys were beaten bad by the Saints while giving up record yards. For Jason, it was important as ever to get back on the field to help his team ASAP, that's why I was brought in. I knew I had to develop a serious program to get him back to pass the Cowboys strength test and get back in the next game against the Giants.

You've heard of Stingers but for those that don't know, a Stinger is a spinal cord injury usually in the neck that affects the nerves of one of your arms.  Numbness and/or weakness can last for hours or days depending on the severity.  

First, I had him do specific movement assessments just to see what's working and not working. Then I can develop a plan of action to make him as strong as possible in the shortest amount of time.

2 1/2 lb weights never felt so heavy!
You can see that something is going on with the left arm.
As it turns out his left arm may have been at best, 15% of its normal strength. We had alot of work to do and not alot of time.  I started him with activation techniques along with exercises to integrate the muscle group back in with the rest of the system so that it works well from the central nervous system standpoint.  

If you're trying to be the best athlete performing at the highest level or just feel better, it's important to have a balanced foundation that's not compensating. So I also did a full body assessment because everything is connected to everything, if one muscle isn't working right it literally affects the whole body. Jason really takes care of his physique inside and out but he still had a few postural deviations and muscle imbalances that could also contribute to other injuries. His issues probably had to do with the fact that he gets into the equivalent of 70-80 car accidents during a football game each week! 

We finished up our session on the flexibility work he needed to take care of some of the compensations. Stretching can be good but only if its done the right way on muscles that actually need it! 

The next appointment was for the strength workout. I used techniques that I'd say less than 10 people in the country know what they are and how to do them properly....

BTW he made the starting line up for the game against the Giants...stay tuned!

Any questions about what exercises we did tweet @FitLike51.