July 21, 2015

SLU AT Student Experiences a Unique Mix at Performance Orthopedic and Sports Therapy

SLU AT Summer Field Experience Spotlight - Performance Orthopedic and Sports Therapy, St. Louis, Missouri
By: Haylie Dehm (SLU MAT Class of 2016)

This summer I have had the opportunity to learn from Matt Leonard, DPT, CCSP, DC, CSCS, at Performance Orthopaedic and Sports Therapy. At POST we see a variety of patients from a wide variety of ages, but predominately I have worked with high school and early college aged patients. The clinic is located in the same facility as the St Louis Baseball and Fastpitch Academy, so we see a higher number of baseball and softball players, but have seen various other kinds of athletes and even people from the general population. 

One of the main focuses at POST is performance training. Matt’s initial evaluation of a new performance training client has allowed me to learn a lot. Part of the initial assessment includes a body composition scan that allows the patient to see an objective measure of their progress as they go through their training. Another tool utilized is the Functional Movement Screen. The use of FMS is helpful in this setting because it gives a good idea of what corrections and cueing we may need to use on a patient in the weight room and/or out on the lovingly nicknamed, Field of Screams. The performance training aspect of this experience has allowed me to observe and notice compensations for different movement patterns that are often associated with joint restrictions. We spend a lot of time with patients teaching them good form and body mechanics prior to having them perform intense lifts in the weight room.

I have had the opportunity to see general chiropractic evaluations on patients just about to go into high school all the way to patients on Medicaid. The most common trend I’ve seen is extension restriction in the mid-thoracic spine. Each patient’s restrictions though are a little different from the next and I have learned when it is appropriate to use a joint mobilization versus a manipulation on said restrictions. After the treatment, Matt will usually either start the patients on new exercises or go through previously assigned exercises with the patient to help them correct their poor habits that are causing their restrictions and/or pain.

I am thankful for this opportunity and look forward to continuing to learn and practice my skills at the POST!

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have a required field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program.  This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

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