Don’t want to miss a thing!
Dr. Pacicca and Nick didn’t want their patient to miss his senior football season either, but playing injured can be tricky, and isn’t something most people can do.
But Jameel isn’t most people.
“Jameel is one of the strongest athletes I have ever worked with,” Nick said. “With the timing of his injury, if he had had surgery when it happened, he would have missed out on the majority of his senior football season.”
Ultimately, Jameel and his parents decided to postpone surgery until he finished his senior football season. That meant it was Nick’s job to help him get back into playing form in time to take to the field.
“Jameel has a good work ethic and he’s smart,” Nick said. “To play safely with an ACL tear, we focused on building his strength back up in his right leg, and improving his range of motion.”
To do that, Nick used traditional physical therapy, combined with blood flow restriction, or BFR therapy, and the anti-gravity, or Alter G, treadmill at Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine at Village West, a 13,000-square-foot gymnasium with state-of-the-art equipment.
Blood flow restriction training, or BFR, involves wrapping a restrictive device, similar to a large blood pressure cuff, around a limb during different forms of training and movement. Studies show BFR increases muscle growth when combined with low-load lifting.
The Alter G treadmill uses NASA-developed technology to unweight patients, which reduces impact on the joints while walking or running during rehab.
“Jameel did well with the Alter G,” Nick said. “It helped us get him running quickly on solid ground. As he progressed, we worked more on agility and movements specific to his position as an outside linebacker, like running, cutting and changing directions.”
After twice-weekly sessions with Nick, and a commitment to also work out at home, Jameel was almost ready to play as summer 2019 came to a close. He just needed to pass a few tests.
“Even though he was injured, Jameel’s BioDex results were better than most,” Nick said. BioDex is a multi-joint isokinetic machine that provides physicians and their patients valuable information about strength deficits and muscle imbalances that may predispose a particular joint to further injury before surgery and after rehabilitation.
With additional functional jumping and sprinting/cutting testing, Jameel proved to Nick and Dr. Pacicca that he was ready to play, and play he did.
“I had to wear a brace for games and practices,” Jameel said. “I pushed through it. It wasn’t just about my knee hurting. I felt like if I didn’t play, I would be letting my whole team down.”
In the end, Jameel started in about 80 to 85% of the team’s games. “The coaches were very strategic about when they played me,” he said. Though the Trojans had a winning season, they lost in the first round of the state playoffs, and Jameel took the next step on the road to a complete recovery.