ATC Tip: How to Efficiently Get Student Athletes Back to Play

athletic training tips

When an athlete gets injured, the person bridging the gap between the athlete and return to play is ultimately the athletic trainer. But, with so many athletes to take care of, it’s often difficult to devote enough time to each one. Dr. Kelly Starrett, DPT has some tips to help support athletic trainers in efficiently getting their athletes onto the right path in the recovery process.

“If you’re not physically ahead of swelling within 12-24 hours, you’re behind in the healing process.”

How Tissues Heal

When looking at improving the tissue healing phases, we need to understand that first and foremost, graded movement is the answer. Active recovery is a necessary factor for optimally improving each stage of the process. During the inflammatory stage, movement helps remove the congestion by activating the lymphatic system. For the proliferation and maturation stage, tissues need to be continuously loaded with low grade movement so the collagen fibers know how to align and don’t seal out of scar formation and adhere between the layers of those sliding surfaces.

Marc Pro: Your Training Room Assistant

Marc Pro’s proprietary technology creates non-fatiguing muscle contractions to provide the low-grade movement that is ideal for improving the recovery process. Athletic trainers utilize Marc Pro in the training room, on the road, or as a tool that athletes can bring home to use independently. Kelly Starrett has found that Marc Pro is particularly useful for the following reasons:

  • After long bouts of sleep athletes often wake up re-congested. Marc Pro is a mechanism that can efficiently decongest the area after periods of rest.
  • Athletes who are immobilized can benefit from Marc Pro’s sub pain threshold movements where decongestion can take place, even while they’re in a sling or trying to guard motion.
  • Marc Pro helps athletic trainers better manage the recovery processes so athletes can have a better outcome

“It’s like having another set of hands in the training room. We can treat more athletes faster with the Marc Pro.”

– Pat Giruzzi, ATC Hamilton College

Taking NSAIDs out of the Equation

If we can get ahead of the inflammatory response, pain signals are often attenuated since the tissues aren’t as angry, congested, and swollen. Using Marc Pro allows athletic trainers to get ahead of the swelling, without having to deal with the limiting factors of the usual mechanisms for managing pain, such as ice or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Marc Pro doesn’t blunt the response, so athletes can get maximum proliferation. It allows athletes to decongest, and more importantly remodel. The brain can stay plugged in since we don’t have some of the inhibitory mechanisms secondary to the swelling. Athletes don’t loose any mass or neuromuscular connections, so we have to do a lot less to get things turned back on. Once athletes are ready to return to play, Marc Pro can be used on the new tissues that are being challenged to make sure they stay in healthy condition.

Getting in enough time with each athlete can be difficult. Marc Pro allows athletic trainers to get more treatment into athletes, even when they’re not in the training room. ATCs can do their focus treatment and then hand Marc Pro to an athlete and get them to manage the healing process and facilitate the body’s natural processes independently. The easy to use pads and comfort of the device mean that compliance is high and athletes can use it for hours a day, if needed.  

Be sure to check out this other content for Athletic Trainers:

Why RICE is Outdated and What you Should do Instead

Athletic Trainer Spotligth | Carla Gilson of Georgia Tech