Limiting and preventing injuries is an ongoing challenge for coach Chuck Barta

The Twins in 2022 set a team record for the most injuries despite players resting extensively and expanding their medical staff recently.

Injuries and illnesses in professional sports are inevitable and pivotal. With reasonable health this season, the twins will likely have made the playoffs. Instead, they finished six games under 0.500.

You can blame the twins’ medical staff, but they’ve hired famous people in their field, including Dr. Christopher Camp, who became medical director and director of high performance in 2020.

Chuck Barta became athletic coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 1988, and has been the head coach for the Minnesota Lynx since 2007. I’ve known and trusted him since we met in 1990.

His career predates MRI. We both remember when athletes thought drinking beer the night before a match was an effective way to “load carbs.”

“I remember when you used to go to your pre-game meal and everybody was eating steak and eggs and a lot of fat,” Barta said. “Now we realize you need less fat, some protein and more carbs. Now we look at the micronutrients and do blood work to see what One really needs it. Yes, things have changed a bit.”

Barta faced two different challenges – working with NFL players who played 16 games over four months, and WNBA stars who played throughout the year.

With the Vikings, Barta from 13 to 28 players underwent surgery in a given season. The level of care was not variable.

It is found that professional players have a lower incidence of serious injuries, because they do not need to strain every day to keep their jobs, and they know how to manage the workload.

With Lynx, it’s been found that players, especially when outside, determine their health through their eating and resting habits.

Other points Barta mentioned during a long conversation:

  • Exercising throughout the year strengthens certain muscles, but weakens others. Playing year-round can lead to repetitive stress injuries, and it can also prevent an athlete from investing time in strengthening the body parts needed to support athletic movements.
  • Many infections were undiagnosed or undiagnosed before the advent of modern technologies. There was a time in the 1980s and early 1990s when “groin strain” became a common description of the injury. When tests such as an MRI and ultrasound were introduced, the trainers were able to discern whether the injury was in fact a groin strain, or related to the abdomen.
  • In situations like the 2022 season, injuries can generate injuries. Barta said: “If a player goes down in the front line, he may be replaced by someone who is not used to playing every day, or is doing himself a lot to prove himself that he is also injured. The effect.”
  • A player who gets injured frequently in college is a good bet for dealing with the same issues in the pros, unless they change their habits.
  • Different tests reveal different results. MRI may show calf strain, while ultrasound may reveal damaged tissue in more detail.
  • Luck can be a major factor.
  • Mental breaks can be just as important as physical breaks.
  • Modern technology, including wearable technology, can help determine how difficult it is to push a player in drills or practices.

Barta cited Sylvia Fowles as an example of a player who has extended her career through self-care. “She paid attention to the smallest details,” Barta said.

I’ve covered Kirby Bucket, who never worked out in the winter and was never disabled until he had glaucoma, and I’ve covered athletes who invested heavily in off-season training programs and then became injury-prone.

The challenge, one GM recently told me, is that modern athletes know they have to be explosive to compete, but building explosives stresses the body.

That may be why Byron Buxton – the fastest runner and strongest hitter in the Twins, and someone who runs extensively in the off-season – has suffered from a variety of injuries.

“Technology in our field has come a long way,” Barta said. “What has remained the same is that a lot of this comes down to how athletes manage themselves away from the team.”

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