Duke exercise physiologist Mike Huff led a group of researchers from Duke Sports Medicine who tested and monitored more than 150 players on the Reds roster and their minor league teams during two-day exams during spring training before last season and the current season. In their analysis of the 2001 campaign, the researchers found that almost 40 percent of the injuries reported by players could have been prevented or at least minimized, with the bulk of the injuries involving muscle or ligament strains, as well as joint sprains.
"There are some injuries that can't be avoided, but others, like pulled hamstrings or torn rotator cuffs, may be avoided or minimized by proper training techniques," Huff said. "After evaluating each individual player, we work with the team to design tailored exercise programs for the players to follow during the season and the off-season."
While an important aspect of the Duke program is injury prevention, another equally important aspect, especially for the Reds, is maximizing each player's athletic potential. The Reds, like all other professional sports teams, invest a great deal of resources in the development of their players.
"Our No. 1 focus is keeping our players healthy, and that's why we have the special two-day physical examinations during spring training," said Jim Thrift, director of research and development for the Reds. "It's a real challenge, considering that we play 162 games in 180 days all over the country in widely varying conditions.
"Now more than ever, given how much we invest in players and their development, it is important that they maintain a certain level of fitness throughout the entire year," he added. "Mike and his staff, along with our own team trainers
Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University Medical Center