NBA News: WSJ Calls Nets’ Athletic Trainer ‘Team MVP’
Posted by Jenn F. on Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
Sports medicine trainers do more than provide emergency care for acute injuries and rehabilitation for old injuries. A team’s athletic trainer runs tests to analyze player health and fitness before the season, attends every practice and game, offers injury prevention strategies, researches the latest methods for healing, and motivates players throughout their recoveries. Recently, the Wall Street Journal highlighted the work of the NBA Nets’ trainer, Tim Walsh, calling him the team’s “MVP.” As the team podiatrists for the NY Lizards Major League Lacrosse players, we understand what it takes to keep a team of professional athletes healthy all season long, and we couldn’t agree more.
Why Players Love Their Trainers
Nets forward Mirza Teletovic said he calls Walsh “the Godfather,” for his seemingly endless supply of tape, equipment, and stall tactics for ensuring that players recover. He explained that the trainer can be subtle about convincing players to abstain from playing for a little longer. “I would have a fever or something and be at home, and say, ‘Listen, I feel good. I think I can practice. [He’d say] ‘Ah, the traffic is bad, I don’t think you should come in. It’s really bad today. It’s raining. I think you should just stay home and you’ll be OK.’ He has his moves.” And he puts the players’ recovery first.
The Nets say Walsh knows whether a player has truly rehabilitated or not based on their running patterns. We use computerized gait analysis here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in much the same way. Players run on the treadmill, as a video camera films them and pressure sensors pick up the way a player strikes the surface. If something doesn’t look right, the player will go back through physical therapy.
Trainers Make The Tough Calls
One might think of a trainer as “the bad guy”–the one who says you can’t play when you really, really want to.We like to think we’re more like that inner “conscience.” Despite what they may say to the media, deep down, all players know when they’re trying to push themselves too hard, and sometimes just need to hear a trained professional reiterate their suspicions.
Particularly when a team is comprised of older members who have been injured in the past, the players understand that returning to practice or game-play too soon could jeopardize their careers. The goals of trainers include acute pain management, ensuring efficient healing, and also seeing that players get as many years in the league as they can muster.
It’s not always easy to tell someone like 7-foot-tall Brook Lopez he has to sit out another game, but a trainer’s got to make the tough calls when considering the entirety of the season. Yet I’m sure Lopez was happy to return as a starter with a 29-point game, rather than a low-scoring game that was dogged by pain.
Deron Williams was another player who suffered ankle trouble in recent years. He’s had surgery on both sides, cortisone shots, and multiple rounds of platelet-rich plasma therapy (which we offer at our NYC sports medicine clinic as well!). Pushing through injury, Williams was averaging 39 minutes per game, 17.5 points, and 7.3 assists per game, even after taking so much time off. Speaking about his trainer, Williams said, “He’s the best. He’s been doing it a long time. He’s good at his job, he loves his job, and it carries over.”
Looking For Experienced Trainers To Care For Your Team?
As we mentioned, our doctors at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine are currently the Team Podiatrists for the NY Lizards MLL team. We have also served as consulting podiatrists for the NY Liberty WNBA team, Women’s World Cup Soccer, the A&P and Newsweek Tennis Classics, the Central Park Track Club, the NY Road Runners Club, NY Magic W-League soccer team, and the former NY Power soccer team. Our center’s founder, Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, has also served as medical director for the NY Hamptons, NYC Triathlon, and Westchester Toughman races. We offer the most advanced therapies for injury rehabilitation, including the FAST procedure, extracorporeal shockwave treatment, platelet-rich plasma injections, and MLS pain lasers. We’re also adept at podiatric surgery and physical therapy regimens. Contact our office at (212) 996-1900 to discuss how we can put more than 40 years of sports injury treatment experience to work for your team.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.