UF AT Program stretches beyond the bounds of campus

By Brianna Hallman and Pulse Staff

Students in the University of Findlay Master of Athletic Training program not only work with UF athletic teams but work with other universities as well. Their work goes beyond typical clinical training. Two UF AT students are conducting a study involving baseball players, including two from Bluffton University and hope to recruit more from Tiffin University.

The study involves a specific baseball injury called glenohumeral internal rotation deficit, or GHIRD. masters candidates in the AT program are studying the effects of the “sleeping stretch” on this common injury and what treatment methods aid in faster recovery.

Bluffton University junior Dominic Campagna has been dealing with this type of injury for several years. He and one other Bluffton player are involved in the study.

“I started having problems sophomore year of high school, and I realized I needed to be more conscious of the health of my arm,” Campagna said.

Athletic Training student Kayla Sonnenberg and her class partner Scott Enneking have been working on the study as part of a project for a research class that started last summer.

(Athletes who have) “symptoms consistent with GHIRD complain of vague shoulder pain, and players might notice decreased control, motion, or velocity while throwing,” said Sonnenberg. “This study will be performed on a target goal of 24 NCAA Division II and Division III collegiate baseball players that test positive for GHIRD.”

GHIRD is a polarizing topic in the medical field and sparks fear in the hearts of baseball players. There have been many debates due to lack of research on diagnosis and the best treatment methods, ranging from physical therapy to surgery.

However, this does not have to be a career-ending diagnosis. In fact, GHIRD has been observed in players in the major leagues, in the collegiate level, and high school level.

In a similar study conducted by J. Sports Medicine, Dr. Michael B. Rose explained, “GHIRD is an adaptive process in which the throwing shoulder experiences a loss of internal rotation.” This issue is most common in overhead-throwing athletes, like baseball players.

Sonnenberg is studying whether the sleeping stretch, the most common form of treatment, combined with another element to the treatment will be more effective.

“We want to see whether adding a tool, such as the RockBlades® program, will improve recovery and treatment, in addition to the sleeping stretch,” said Sonnenberg. “The sleeping stretch is considered, currently, as the ‘gold standard’ for treatment of GHIRD.”

The sleeping stretch is a method where the participant lays on their side of the affected shoulder with that arm bent. They then use their unaffected arm to push the bent arm down until they feel a stretch in the back of the shoulder.

In addition to the sleeping stretch, the RockBlades®system will be used as secondary treatment. This includes a handheld mallet and the application of kinesiology tape.

The first two help in the scanning and treatment of soft tissue and allow for deep penetration into the tissue. The latter assists by lifting the skin away from the fascia of the muscle, making a decompression affect.

Campagna was chosen as a participant in this single-blind study, which means that participants are chosen randomly from a pool of baseball players in the surrounding area. Sonnenberg was previously an Athletic Trainer at Bluffton University, and she helped recruit participants, including Campagna and his teammate.

“Kayla was one of our athletic trainers last year, and since I knew her, I agreed to do it,” said Campagna.

Sonnenberg and her partner are looking to target each muscle that aids in shoulder rotation.

“Our study will include a90-second total sleeper stretch combined with a 30-second RockBlades® IASTM intervention to each [shoulder] muscle being targeted, compared to the sleeper stretch alone, on the shoulder that is affected by GHIRD,” Sonnenberg said.

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