Boston Red Sox’s Mike Reinhold is leading the fight against team’s injury woes

28 Mar

Boston, MA – Mike Reinhold, PT, ATC is at the forefront in baseball in preventing injury.  Baseball players are tough players to work with because of the idosyncrasy’s, tradition and culture of baseball.  Many baseball players still believe that strength training is harmful for them.  But Mike has been able to work through those barriers and is now embarking on an ambitious program to prevent injuries to the Red Sox.

The Red Sox placed 19 players on the disabled list last season, with multiple stints for Mike Cameron, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Dustin Pedroia. By the time their fractured season was over, the team had lost players for 1,018 games.

Red Sox players underwent surgery six times between April 6 and Oct. 13 to repair fractured bones, shredded ligaments, and torn muscles. Of the 151 transactions during the season, 98 were related to injuries.

Head athletic trainer Mike Reinold had the responsibility of preparing a daily injury report for general manager Theo Epstein, manager Terry Francona, and other team officials. By the end of the season, it was inches thick.

“Like a book,’’ Reinold said. “I would go to my office in the third inning to start writing. It usually took a while.’’

Francona quickly grew tired of answering questions about injuries and the players took a fatalistic view best expressed by Pedroia, who on June 25 in San Francisco fouled a ball off his left foot and broke the navicular bone. With the exception of two games in August, he did not play again.

“Injuries just happen,’’ Pedroia said. “There’s not much you can do about it.’’

That is not necessarily the case. The Red Sox are working to be at the forefront of what could be baseball’s next landmark innovation, the ability to assess, treat, prevent, and perhaps even forecast injuries so effectively that it creates a competitive advantage.

Much like the revolution in statistical analysis last decade that changed game strategy and how players are evaluated, teams that pour staffing and financial resources into their medical departments could leap ahead of their competition.

“Theo has charged us to be innovators,’’ said Dr. Thomas Gill, the team’s medical director. “We want to be the best in the league and create that advantage. There’s no doubt in my mind it can be done.’’

For the same financial investment in a high first-round draft pick, teams can add personnel to their medical department, fund research, and better equip their facilities.

“It’s smart. The Red Sox are being forward-thinking,’’ said Will Carroll, who covers medical issues for Sports Illustrated. “Sports medicine is one of the cheapest ways to improve your team. You just have to be willing to make the investment. Just a few small things can make a difference.’’

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