Sunday, February 28, 2010

Phil Donley, the real deal

Just got back from the first day of the ATSNJ symposium in Princeton. Spent 5 hours in a shoulder course with Phil Donley ATC. He starts his shoulder evaluation with a kinetic chain assessment. He spent quite a bit of time on the head & cervical spine's influence on throwing mechanics; how they influence the body & how the body zooms the neck.

He gave us his take on this new emphasis on humeral retroversion & it's effect on the throwing shoulder. If you're not familiar with it, these guys feel GIRD (glenohumeral internal rotation deficit) is not a big deal as long as the total arc of rotation is similar to the non throwing arm. The theory is by pitching for such a long time and from a young age, the humeral bone itself kind of torques itself backward as a way of developing more external rotation. In their mind, the posterior capsule is not tight & working on it's flexibility is a waste of time.

Phil feels that's bull. He says rather than the humerus bone rotating backward, the pre pubescent throwing never allows the bone to develop into it's naturally internally rotated attitude. He disagrees strongly that this is a positive adaptation that allows the athlete to load & throw faster. And, he feels the tight posterior shoulder capsule is a frequent contributor to ulnar collateral ligament injuries to the elbow.

I asked how he felt about pushing of the rubber to gain more throwing speed. He said he didn't have a problem with it as long as the athlete was biomechanically sound. I on the other hand feel this is injurious to the shoulder. Our ex baseball coach, Ray Korn also discouraged it. One elbow injury, one shoulder in 27 years.

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