UPMC Announces Fitness And Training Support
Some of the specialized training and methods that some of the worlds elite athletes have utilized in the past will now be used for the benefit of the Navy elite Special Operations SEAL team members in Little Creek, Virginia.
The University of Pittsburgh has long had a world-renowned Sports Rehabilitation and Neuromuscular Sports Therapy clinic headed by Dr. Scott Lephart. Since the early 1990’s world-class athletes have traveled to the South Side of Pittsburgh, to the Research and Neuromuscular Research and Sports Medicine Center ran by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the team of Dr. Lephart.
Now, the United States Navy is announcing a joint effort with the University of Pittsburgh, the UPMC Sports Medicine Center, and the UP School of Rehabilitation and Health Science department to open a clinic on the grounds of the Little Creek Virginia Naval Special Warfare Group Two SEAL team base.
It will be a new joint $2.1 million dollar U.S. Navy funded project to help SEAL commandos realize more from their training, to train more effectively and efficiently, and to cut back on the number of injuries that they regularly encounter.
The same methods used to train world-class athletes will now be used to develop individual training programs for the elite U.S. Navy SEAL team members. “Our most prized asset and best systems weapon we have in our arsenal is the trained U.S. Navy SEAL Operator, the operator is the best and most important Naval Special Warfare weapon we have,” stated SWG Two Commander, Captain Chaz Heron.
Captain Heron is the commander and leader of the Naval Special Warfare Group Two based at Little Creek, Virginia and an enthusiastic supporter of the new program. “We want to develop this new program to give our operators a better chance of mission success when deployed and on the battlefield, we seek to give every possible advantage to my men to improve their readiness and mission effectiveness,” said Captain Heron.
The research and Sports Neuromuscular Research team of Dr. Lephart has quite a stunning reputation from which they bring advanced technology and skills to the table. Dr. Lephart, in addition to the clinic that he originated and runs in South Pittsburgh, created a new one of a kind Center for Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention Center on the grounds of Fort Campbell, Kentucky in May 2007.
Dr. Lephart and his Center For Sports Medicine Staff created the center at Fort Campbell, where the Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the 5th Special Forces Group, and the U.S. Army 101st Airborne are based.
The commanding General for the 101st Airborne Command, Major General Jeffrey Schloesser has high levels of praise for the program, still in its first year. “Our leaders, both medical and unit level, have been able to create a better overall awareness of our shortfalls and areas where we need to work on. The new physical training program, even in the early stages, showed immediate and profound success, leading to an improved injury rate and better levels of combat readiness and soldier effectiveness,” said General Schloesser.
When the Army program was created, the leaders of the Navy SEAL Special Operations program began to take heed, and talks started about creating a program to benefit individual SEAL members and the SEAL program in general. “Navy SEAL’s are the elite of the elite, and we are in fact dealing with a high performance, very specialized Warrior Athlete,” said Lieutenant David Luckett.
Luckett is Special Warfare Group Two Navy Public Affairs officer and spokesman for the SEAL program at Little Creek Virginia.
The Army program for Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention was so successful the Navy wanted to establish a similar lab for their SEAL teams to utilize and benefit from. So they went and talked to Dr. Lephart. After several months of talks, a new program was born.
Dr. Scott Lephart is a world known scientist and specialist in all areas of Neuromuscular Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and treatment of Sports and related injuries. He has helped numerous world-class athletes since the 1990s, and his efforts are now going to be assisting the U.S. Navy SEAL program in Virginia. The New laboratory will be staffed with two professionals in addition to Dr. Lephart. He will have the assistance of a trained exercise physiologist, Greg Hovey, who will design programs for the SEAL team members, and Anthony Zimmer, a certified athletic trainer who will help monitor and assist in the program itself. The new Little Creek Lab will be equipped with state of the art medical and neuromuscular instruments, including physiological equipment that can measure body fat percentages, muscle mass, skin fold thickness, as well as other physical measurements.
In addition, it will have the latest in biomechanical equipment and training gear to assist in setting up programs that will help the SEAL team commandos improve and reduce their injuries. For many decades the United States military has had a cookie cutter approach to the military, with group runs, and PT morning drills performed as a group in ranks. While this has largely proved successful over the years, there are better and more individualized methods of training that can be adapted.
Athletes train and perform differently, and each type of athlete has a different type of activity. Professional sports football players and basketball players, hockey players, even professional tennis and track and field; each has its own definite type of movement, action and requirements. The training for each type of athlete is different and training to be truly effective is tailored to the individual based on the type of action they have to perform. “The individual program of training has to be connected with the specific tasks that they are being asked to do,” said Dr. Lephart.
The team led by Dr. Lephart will also help offer dietary and nutritional support, and suggestions. Often in the military personnel do not eat well, and that is reflected in poor muscle tone, increased injury, and a lack of peak performance. Even elite warriors such as Navy SEAL’s sometimes do not eat as well as they should. One solution that occurred to Dr. Lephart and his team is to use a team training table meal approach much like some sports teams do.
“Dr. Lephart and his team is recognized as one of the best in the field of sports medicine and injury,” said Lieutenant Luckett. “We want to assist our Navy SEALS not only with military readiness and effectiveness, but also to have an excellent quality of life after their military SEAL service.” Said Luckett.
Part of the Navy SEAL culture is to push yourself beyond your limits, and then push an additional amount. This may be part of what the Team led by Dr. Lephart works to change.
“Sometimes it’s not just knowing how to train but knowing when NOT to train, sometimes you have to rest and let your body recover,” said Lephart.
The New Little Creek Lab will be to teach SEAL’s how to train wiser, getting more from their physical training, and teaching them when limits should be observed. For some of the members of the different SEAL teams it may take some mental re programming, being used to pushing themselves far beyond the limits of most people.
The overall aim of the program is to reduce injury and down time that SEALs have to miss because of preventable injuries, and to help lengthen the physical tone of the SEAL, allowing them to remain on operational duty for a longer period of time. This is seen as benefiting both the SEAL operative individually, and it will benefit the good of the Navy SEAL service.