Virginia Tech Sports Medicine



    Click here for information regarding our Eddie Ferrell Sports Medicine Clinic.

    Mission Statement

    The Virginia Tech Sports Medicine Department will strive to provide the most efficient and effective interdisciplinary care available to help prevent and manage athletic related injuries or illnesses. Treatment of these conditions will be based on sound medical principles considering personal and team goals and always delivered in a professional and ethical environment.

    Philosophy

    The Virginia Tech Sports Medicine Department is committed to providing our athletes with a dynamic based interdisciplinary protocol for recovery that will focus on flexibility, strength, endurance and sport specific based functional activities.

    About

    The Virginia Tech Sports Medicine Department is an ever-changing and developing unit that strives to provide the most current and comprehensive care to all student-athletes. Under the leadership of Mike Goforth, assistant director of athletics for athletic training, the department is constantly evolving to incorporate new ideas and state-of-the-art resources for the betterment of student-athletes.

    Their team of certified athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons, Board Certified primary care physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists, sport psychologists, nutritionists, massage therapists and orthotists are available on site to manage the health care needs of Tech student-athletes.

    The staff continually looks for ways to enhance the services provided for their student-athletes as evidence by their participation in local and national projects pertaining to related topics such as concussion management, prevention of antibiotic resistant types of staph infection, high ankle sprains and collegiate health care management strategies.

    Built in 2001, the 4,300-square-foot Eddie Ferrell Memorial Training Room houses most of the Tech's sports medicine staff. This area, on the bottom floor of the Jamerson Athletics Center and adjacent to the football locker room, consolidated the training rooms that existed in the Merryman Center and Cassell Coliseum and gives the training staff a centralized area to care for the needs of all Virginia Tech student-athletes.

    The Ferrell Training Room nearly doubles the size of the former Merryman Center facility, and Virginia Tech now has more than 10,000 square feet dedicated to sports medicine, placing Tech in the top five percent nationally. The $10 million Merryman Center includes 2,400 square feet of medical space and a physician's suite. The suite is equipped with a new state-of-the-art X-ray system, fluoroscopy unit and minor procedure room, while the training room has offices for the staff, dozens of training tables, two cold tubs, whirlpools, an underwater treadmill, a Biodex System 3 and various other pieces of rehabilitation equipment and treatment modalities.

    In addition, a training room has been constructed in Rector Field House to serve the football team when it practices indoors and also the needs of the track and field program. The Gordon Family Mobile Sports Medicine Unit is a new portable training room that can be transported to various venues. "We, as a staff, are very pleased with our facilities and the opportunity for all of us to come together for the benefit of our athletes," Goforth said.

    Research is also considered to be instrumental to the sports medicine department. The department has participated in several projects with the engineering department and school of education, respectively.

    "Our goal with this program is to formally provide our student-athletes with the most effective and efficient health care delivery system possible," Goforth said. "Our research will serve as a framework for universities across the country to provide high-level health care services for their athletes, and at the same time, create collaboration between academic research and athletics."

    In conjunction with Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and other research departments at Tech, the sports medicine department has initiated several research projects focusing on head injuries, ankle injuries and the treatment of low back conditions. The head injury study, titled B.I.E.R.S.T (Brain Injury Evaluation in Real Time Sports Trauma), is an exciting new study that evaluates the forces generated in helmets during real-time events in football. The project is headed by Dr. Gunnar Brolinson and Dr. Stephan Duma, from mechanical engineering, and has steadily gained the attention of both the medical and engineering communities.

    After the sports medicine staff diagnoses and treats an ill or injured student-athlete, the staff then starts collaborative work with the strength and conditioning staff to give the best injury prevention and performance enhancing programs possible. The training, medical, and strength and conditioning staffs each have a role in bringing the athlete back quickly and ready to play. After an injury, a student-athlete will go through rehabilitation and physical therapy. Student-athletes are then moved to weight training, as they become able. The strength and conditioning staff uses specific programs for each injury in an effort to get the student-athlete back quickly. Prior to returning to full participation, the student-athlete will also complete a series of drills and progressions that are specific to the his or her position that will help insure that he or she is ready to return with a greatly reduced risk of re-injury.

    The range of benefits student-athletes have access to include custom orthotics, custom mouth guards, specialized DonJoy prophylactic bracing and many other options to help prevent or protect them from injuries. The sports medicine staff also takes great pride in treating the student-athletes year-round. Special attention is paid to offseason activity.

    During this time, the staff will analyze past injury data from each participant and construct a preventative program that is followed over a nine-week period between the end of the season and the beginning of spring practice. This same procedure is followed during the summer.

    "If our strength and conditioning is so important, and it is, then we owe it to our student-athletes to provide them with the necessary resources to keep them actively participating," Goforth said. "We basically adopt the attitude that, in the fall, our mission is to keep them participating on the field and during the other times of the year, it is our job to keep them participating in our strength and conditioning program."

    Their programs consist of strengthening, stretching and - most importantly - movement pattern analysis and training to help prevent the re-occurrence of injuries.

    "We value the offseason greatly within our department," Goforth said. "We have adopted the same mindset as our strength and conditioning staff and look at our offseason time as an opportunity to get our athletes better as opposed to time off for our staff."

    Most of the offseason activity is based on programs that are designed to detect movement patterns that might lead to injury or could be causing a drop in performance.

    "The beauty of this program is that it is a multi-disciplinary tool that is designed to show athletes where their deficiencies lie," Goforth said. A vital part of student-athlete medical services is access to the Montgomery Regional Hospital's SWVA Center for Orthopedics and Schiffert Student Health Center. Both facilities are staffed with qualified physicians and staff, and have a wide variety of technologies designed to increase the level of care available to the student-athletes.

    If physical therapy is needed, student-athletes can be seen by physical therapist Mark Piechoski in the Ferrell Training Room. Piechoski, who is a certified athletic trainer, physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist, plays a large role in the overall program developed to return the injured student-athlete back to 100 percent. In addition, staff sport psychologist Dr. Gary Bennett is available to all student-athletes for personal and performance issues. Team chiropractors, Dr. Greg Tilley and Dr. Dale Reynolds, provide Tech student-athletes with specialized treatment for spine-related conditions and play a huge role in performance enhancement through various chiropractic techniques.

    "For us, as certified athletic trainers, to have the resources of folks like Mark Piechoski, Greg Tilley and Gary Bennett is a tremendous asset," Goforth said. "The knowledge and skill that they bring is invaluable.

    "Our goal is to provide the same high level of health care that professional and Olympic athletes receive. Our usage of specialist care is modeled after the NFL system and incorporates components of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs."

    Team orthopedic surgeons Dr. Marc Siegel, Dr. Jim LeBolt and Dr. Demian Yakel bring a wealth of experience and skills to assist when athletes need orthopedic consultation for certain types of sports-related injuries that occur from time to time.

    Over the years, Virginia Tech has developed the reputation for producing top-level certified athletic trainers. Graduates are now employed in positions across the country at various levels of the profession, and each year, the staff consists of 10 graduate assistants whose efforts are invaluable.

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