The SPEAR team and the youth tennis players pose for a picture.
On August 21st, SPEAR partnered with ESPN and the U.S. Open’s United States Tennis Association (USTA) for the organization’s Raise a Racquet charity event, where a group of our talented physical therapists offered an injury prevention screening for youth tennis players. The USTA Foundation has a mission “to bring tennis and education together to change lives”, a purpose that truly aligns with SPEAR’s own values, and why we chose to participate in this event for the 2nd year in a row. The group of eight youth athletes who participated in the screening were star tennis players recognized for their talent and skills. The SPEAR team, comprised of Sarah Lloyd, PT, DPT, Brittany Smith, PT, DPT, BFR, John Schott, PT, DPT, Andrea Bettini, PT, DPT, and Martin del Prado, PT, DPT, CSAC, came ready with equipment, score sheets, and take-home handouts for the players. The SPEAR team’s objective for the screening was to equip the young athletes with actionable exercises they could easily implement in their own training routines to prevent injuries. Sarah Lloyd shared her own personal experiences, noting how valuable the information she’s learned as a PT would have been during her time as a youth lacrosse player (she now plays professionally).
The screening began out on the field, but Mother Nature forced the group inside after some thunderstorms rolled in! Luckily, they were able to reconvene in the gym area. The kids were separated into two groups, with two rotations of 20 minutes each. Five different stations were set up, with a physical therapist at each one to walk the students through each exercise and monitor their movements. The exercises were curated to help test certain functions, like their agility and balance. The therapists also checked for any problem areas or habits that could inhibit their performance, such as ensuring the knees are straight when exercising a lunge. Some of the exercises the kids ran through included drop jumps, a balance anterior reach test, hop tests, and an agility drill. At the end of the screening, the kids were given tailored exercises to continue at home, meant to address the individual issues or areas they needed to work on as determined by our treating PTs.
Martin Del Prado, PT, DPT, CSAC, walks a tennis player through her screening results.
The team gets ready in a huddle to begin the warm-up exercises.
Brittany Smith, PT, DPT, BFR, works with an athlete through one of the exercises.
Tennis players smiling big after a workout and some SPEAR swag!
After the screening, the kids got some well-earned SPEAR gear for all of their hard work. They were also giddy with excitement to meet the Doubles Grand Slam Champion, the Bryan Brothers—many of the children gathered around and were all smiles to huddle for pictures with inspiring athletes! Seeing these rising superstars excited and motivated to work hard and continue progressing is the reason why we do what we do. Our PTs were very happy to offer their training and expertise to these young athletes to help them continue playing the sport they love. We look forward to the next outing out on the court!