Continuing Education Bits for PTs & PTAs

Archive for March, 2012

The 2012 Games Are Coming — Are You Ready?


Welcome to the Men’s Water Polo 4 Nations tournament in Thousand Oaks CA in March of 2012! Our goal at this tournament is to gain an understanding of the kinds of injury and the mechanics of injury in Water Polo.  In this post our guests will talk about one of the most common injuries in the sport: the shoulder!

Water Polo throws require extreme external rotation of the humerus with a more elevated and extended elbow during late cocking and acceleration

Biomechanics of a typical water polo block, throw and goalie position

As water polo is gaining popularity in the US, and is already widely popular globally, many of you may be seeing more patients with such injuries (and they are at a high risk of injury: both overuse injuries and battle wounds!)

One of the very unique components of this sport  is that the athletes do not have a ground reaction force upon which to generate power. Their feet are not on the ground, as  in the golf swing or the baseball pitch or basketball/volleyball jump. Yet, at times the water polo athletes elevate themselves about waist high out of the water in order to throw the ball or defend a position (please note picture of the goalie and thrower above). Now, how do they do that — especially without some risk of injury??!!!!

In order to discuss this topic properly, we are fortunate to have some real experts! Coach Terry Schroeder, the Men’s Olympic Water  Polo coach, and 2012 US National Team members: attacker Brian Alexander and center John Mann to lead our discussion. 

A little insight: coach Schroeder was a 3-time Olympian (2 silver medals) prior to taking on the men’s Olympic team as head coach for the Bejing games. Before he assumed this position, the team was not expected to make it into the 2008 Olympics.  But, under this coach’s thoughtful, gentle yet provocative leadership, they won a last minute spot into the ’08 Games at the Pan Am Competition in Brazil. They were the underdogs at the start of the Olympics in China. Fast forward, though, to the end of the games, and you’ll see the team on the podium with the silver medal in their hands!  The team is now ranked # 6 in the world, and ready to compete and win in London 2012.

Coach Schroeder is a nominee to the Olympic Hall of Fame. For more details on Terry’s Olympic history, here is a link, and if you are as impressed as I am with his track record, please cast your vote prior to April 9!

Click on the image, bellow, to watch a short interview with Coach Schroeder & team members –and please excuse the blooper! In my excitement I referred to the upcoming games as “2002″ instead of 2012

Thanks so much, coach, Brian and John, for that excellent demonstration and sharing with us the mechanics of injury to the shoulder injury in water polo.

As we part for today, we at EDUCATA thank you and are very proud of all you’ve accomplished – all of you have reached inward to find your very best and have reached outward to understand the very best that each team members has to offer so that you all count on each other and make a true TEAM.

Now several of you were on the team that won the Silver Medal in Bejing — and Terry, as we’d mentioned, has won the silver twice as a competitor.  So, at some level, I can see you guys are just ready to burst through the ‘silver’ lining and go for the gold.  May we at EDUCTA offer you a mantra?  We all know the saying of ‘leaving your past in the dust’.  Well, as you move forward, may you ‘leave Silver in your dust, and hold Gold in your hands!’

Now it is your turn. What would you do if you had a water polo player/patient come into your office tomorrow with a shoulder injury? How would you evaluate this athlete and what treatment/education –and ultimately exercises– to prevent future injuries would you provide? 

In the meantime, here is a link to an article on Water Polo available to you from EDUCATA. It’s free!  Just register as a member and go ‘library’.

And now… introducing Mr. G!

Dr. Marilyn Pink introduces Mr. G, our rTSA case study at 10 weeks post-op.

“As I reflected on the recent months and the extreme pain and aggravation I was experiencing, the thought of how yet one more orthopaedic surgery really bothered me. I specifically recall sitting in my car after picking up the MRI report, reading it multiple times and concluding – ‘all hope is lost’ (remember: I am a marketing major, not a scientist or medical person).

“I couldn’t wait to see Dr. Itamura and get his thoughts, although I must tell you that I did enough searching on the internet to bet on what Dr. Itamura would say and actually felt relieved when he indicated I was an ideal candidate for the rTSA.

“But before I proceed, I would like to take the stage for a bit and thank every single PT/PTA who has helped me in the past (and YOUR blog posts are part of that help!) and will be there for me in the future. You guys are great!  My mantra is that ‘if you are ever invited to a party with a PT – go!!! I’ve never met such a fun loving, honest, giving group of people.

“In particular, I’d like to thank Mark, Renee, Brenda, Fred, Crystal (whose every present greeting and smile set the tone for the balance of my visit) and all of you guys at Seven Oaks. You are absolutely the best and have shared in my challenges.

“So, back to my shoulder. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that surgery is only half the battle: rehabilitation is the other. Now with the rTSA, I have completed six weeks of an exercise regimen which has increased my ROM and I remain completely pain free.

“It is a long haul and I know I am going to be careful with my shoulder FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!  But, I can adjust to that. Instead of doing a mile freestyle in the pool, I am going to join an aqua-aerobics class. With Dr. Itamura’s permission, I am continuing with Pilates, long walks (hopefully bicycling in the future, but we’ll have to see about that), an adjusted weight training program and I’m going to start on a balance program (I don’t want to fall with all this metal in me!). I will adjust and continue living healthy.

“So, many thanks to Dr. Itamura and to all of you PTs who have helped me. I give you guys problems and you give me solutions.”

— Alan G.

Alan G.* Strengthening Principles in aging by Dr. Dale Evers is one of EDUCATA’s most popular lectures. If you are interested in a special promotion currently available on  this course, please contact our administrator at

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