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Successfully Managing Hamstring Health and Performance

Derek M. Hansen

I often scan the weekly injury stats for all the teams in the NFL to see which of my fantasy players will be out for the week and may be less than 100 percent for their upcoming games. I am always shocked to see how many players are listed as injured, doubtful or a game-day decision due to hamstring strains. It seems to be as prolific as the common cold when it comes to professional football players.

We could spend hundreds of hours examining the various causes for hamstring strains, yet many researchers have spent a good portion of their careers in the lab trying to isolate the reasons why speed athletes pull their hamstrings with no conclusive results. Some cite hamstring flexibility, while others identify strength deficiencies. Unfortunately, science aside, we have to accept that athletes who run fast will be at significant risk for a hamstring strain. Call it an “occupational hazard” or the “cost of doing business” in the world of high speed sports. Regardless, we have to get better in the way we treat and manage these injuries, because they are not going to simply go away with wishful thinking.

If you are going to undertake the challenge of rehabilitating a hamstring strain, it is best that you do a good job of it. A number of studies have shown that the most significant precursor to a hamstring strain is a previous hamstring injury. While this may not require the intelligence of a rocket scientist to figure out, it emphasizes the need to do a good job when strengthening a recently injured hamstring. The last thing an athlete needs is for his coaches and teammates to second guess his health and label someone injury prone because of a nagging or recurring hamstring injury.

After long discussions with Jimson Lee of SpeedEndurance.com, we decided it was worthwhile to produce a workshop series on the issue of hamstring rehabilitation for speed athletes. We receive numerous requests from athletes who are preparing for races or testing combines who are dealing with hamstring problems. Most, if not all, of these athletes are expressing significant frustration in navigating the problem. There are many different opinions on how to rehabilitate a speed-induced hamstring strain. Yet the average recovery time from what I would consider mild to moderate strains is anywhere between four to six weeks. Luckily, we have been able to help our athletes and clients rehabilitate their hamstrings in anywhere between four days and three weeks, depending on the severity of the strain.

In our workshop series, We have provided two hours of material on the subject of hamstring rehabilitation and outlined the key steps to be taken in the rehabilitation of hamstring strain injuries. We have also included some video footage that outlines the management of sprint mechanics during the active rehabilitation phase. With every hamstring rehabilitation case, the goal is not only to rehabilitate the current injury, but also prevent any future injuries in both the short-term and long-term.

For more information on our hamstring rehabilitation series, please click on the link below:

Hamstring Rehabilitation and Sprint Mechanics Management Series

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