Sea Cliff, NY, USA
Monday 24th September 2012

Since arriving in New York on Saturday afternoon, I've been enjoying one of my typical "holidays".  The weekend was spent relaxing, catching up with friend, & former podiatric colleague, Toni Blackstock as we entertained her 3 year old daughter, Bella, near their home on Long Island.  Then on Monday I travelled across to Tarrytown to meet up with former Bolton Wanderers & Manchester City sports physiotherapist, Andy Barr.

Andy is now working with former Leeds United & Chelsea physiotherapist Dave Hancock, masterminding the performance & rehabilitation strategies for the New York Knicks in the NBA.  Andy's background in movement analysis & functional rehabilitation compliments Dave's manual therapy & visionary organisational skills, so together they are providing a performance department far advanced of any other set up I have seen in the NBA.  Whilst their facilities may not be as expansive as the Chicago Bulls or as glamourous as the Dallas Mavericks, the underlying systems that have been put in place to analyse player training & competition loads (utilising systems such as Catapult) are enabling more optimal conditioning & are definitely more in keeping with support teams based in Europe & Australasia.

Andy & I spent nearly 3 hours discussing injury epidemiology in elite basketball, which seems to be very biased towards tendinopathy & low back presentations, secondary to habitual distally driven movement patterns & anterior chain dominance that have often never been addressed until the player joins the club.  Much of the four years since arriving in New York has been spent collecting information that can then be used to educate coaching staff & players, in order to gradually bring about a change in mindset that has traditionally seen training schedules based around cultural belief as opposed to load-dictated work.

Given the nature of the NBA, where teams are satisfying "consistenly inconsistent" fixture lists, whilst travelling long hours, playing late night games & funded by per diem payments to players, Andy & Dave have worked hard to introduce better recovery strategies, educating on the importance of sleep, rehydration & nutrition.  The task appears to be made even harder given the high turnover of playing staff in the team, which means every year the majority of the roster needs educating on the objectives of the support team & persuading to buy in to their ethos.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, so thank you to Andy for the invite & to all the staff for their hospitality during my time in the facility.  Good luck for the season ahead.

Tomorrow, I head back to the Timex Performance Center to meet up with friend, New York Giants rehabilitation lead, Byron Hansen & roll my sleeves up to join in the hard work that they do in the training room there.  Looking forward to it!!!

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