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Keyword: soccer

Guest post by:
Michael J. Barr, PT, DPT, MSR
Sports Medicine Program Manager
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

As I am standing on the field after the Charleston Battery’s last regular season match of the 2015 season, thousands of fans are rushing the pitch to talk to their favorite players, get autographs, and find their own little spot of grass to watch the post-game firework; the historic moments from this season are running through my thoughts.

We started off the year back in February with the Carolina Challenge Cup which included two new MLS expansion teams New York City FC and Orlando City SC in addition to the Houston Dynamo and our Charleston Battery.  The CCC was a great kick-off of the season with international stars (Kaka and David Villa) and US national team players (DaMarcus Beasley, Brek Shea, and Mix Diskerud)  playing on our pitch in-front of sold out crowds.

The Battery then catapulted into the regular season starting with a 5-0-2 record before experiencing their first loss at FC Montreal.  Their outstanding play extended in to the US open cup where we won our first 2 matches and then eventually losing to Orlando City SC in penalty kicks, however taking the MLS side to a 4-4 draw through regulation and overtime was a feat in its own.

As if having MLS teams coming to Charleston was not enough, it was announced that West Bromwich Albion from the English Premier League, was coming to town to play an exhibition match against our Charleston Battery on July 17th.  The West Brom match was played in front of another sold out crowd and all around was just an amazing event.

July 30, 2015, the Charleston Battery and MUSC Health announced the re-naming of Blackbaud Stadium to MUSC Health Stadium, which was then unveiled at a tough 0-0 draw against FC Montreal on August 1st

So over halfway through the season, the Battery announced a new stadium name, MUSC Health Stadium, has played MLS teams, an EPL team, and is fighting for one of the top 3 places in the eastern conference of the USL.  As we enter our last regular season home match, our fate and playoff position is in our own hands, a win means we finish 3rd and host a first round home playoff match.

The Historic Moments Continue:

In front of a crown of 4,543 at MUSC Health Stadium, the Charleston Battery go into the locker room up 1-0 over the Charlotte Independence at halftime.  At the start of the second half, in the 48th minute, Dane Kelley struck a phenomenal volley, scoring what eventually will be the winning goal of the match.  This was Dane’s 42nd career goal in the USL, putting him at the top of the all-time USL leader board.

The Attendance of 4,543 at MUSC Health Stadium broke the season average home attendance record for the Battery, setting the new record at MUSC Health Stadium to be 4,079 beating the previous record of 3,991, set in 2008.

The WIN, in front of this monumental crowd: increased the Battery’s home unbeaten streak to 24 matches at MUSC Health Stadium; claimed the 2015 Southern Derby Cup;  Solidified our third place regular season finish including hosting a first round home playoff game.

This was my eighth season working with the Charleston Battery as their team Physical Therapist and coordinating all of their sports medicine needs.  With everything that has happened this year, it was definitely a historic season, and one that I will never forget.

However the season is not over yet, there is one more historic feat that needs to be achieved to truly top off this historic season.  The Charleston Battery will start their playoff run, hosting the Richmond Kickers on September 26, 2015 at MUSC Health Stadium; you are not going to want to miss this match!

Guest Post by:
Lindsey Clarke, MS, ATC, CMT
MUSC Health Sports Medicine


It’s that time of year where it’s just about time to hang up those basketball shoes or that wrestling singlet, and grab those cleats or glove. The winter sports season is ending and spring is just around the corner. While more and more high school student athletes are specializing in one sport earlier in their careers, there are still quite a few multi-sport athletes out there. It may seem that a multi-sport student athlete’s schedule is never ending, and the schedule they keep could do more harm than good. Transitioning from one season to the next doesn’t have to be as daunting and exhausting as it might seem…and playing multiple sports just might help you.

  • Many coaches are aware of multi-sport athletes and appreciate what they can bring to their team.  Coaches understand that the timing, intensity and type of physical exertion are different from one sport to the next.  There is a certain amount of adjustment for the multi-sport athlete in the early part of the season, and coaches have to be a little more patient.  Taking a different approach, and having a different mindset about how practices are set up can benefit their athletes making a transition from one sport to the next.
  • Over 7.5 million high school students participate in interscholastic athletics each year (National Federation of State High School Associations, n.d.). Proponents of high school sport programs believe these activities contribute to the overall education of students. While it may seem like students who are multi-sport athletes may be at risk for adverse affects in their class work, studies have shown that students involved in multiple sports actually have better grades, higher attendance rates, fewer discipline problems, and are less likely to be involved in risky behaviors.
  • It may seem that moving from one sport to the next with little to no rest in between seasons would be physically detrimental to an athlete, but the opposite is actually true. According to an American Medical Society for Sports Medicine report, diversified sports training during early and middle adolescence may be more effective than specializing early in regards to the development of elite-level skills.  This diversification can provide benefits such as skill transfer, can aid with development of more muscle groups for a more well-rounded athlete, and lessens the chance for burnout because of expanded interest. Variety in the physical demands of sports training is often a good thing because it prevents overtraining, and it lessens the degree of physical and psychological exhaustion.  Children who specialize in a single sport account for 50% of overuse injuries in young athletes.  In a study of 1200 youth athletes, Dr. Neeru Jayanthi of Loyola University, found that early specialization in a single sport is one of the strongest predictors of injury. Athletes in the study who specialized were 70% to 93% more likely to be injured than children who played multiple sports!
  • Playing conditions are also something to keep in mind when transitioning from one season to the next.  There are a number of variables that may require more attention when starting your next sport: playing surface, size of playing field, increased physical demands, number of participants, weather conditions, and equipment to name a few.  If addressed accordingly, these shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.  For example, if you ask a basketball player that is accustomed to a climate-controlled, smooth court wearing rubber soled shoes how they feel the first few days of soccer season, playing on an open-air soccer field in cleats, you might hear a few gripes! The key here is to be honest with yourself and know your limitations.  If you’re hurt, communicate with your coach and your athletic trainer. As a result, any injury that presents itself during your transition will get resolved and not plague your next season.

As an athletic trainer that provides coverage at a high school where approximately 1/3 of student athletes are multi-sport, I see my athletes deal with this constant flux year after year.  One of my senior girls shared some of her thoughts on her experiences as a winter to spring sport athlete for the past four years…

“I find it easier when I am playing different sports back to back.  It helps me focus on school work since I have a very limited time for certain things…time management is key.  The cross training is a huge help too.  Coming in with my conditioning from basketball allows me to focus more on learning the plays for lacrosse instead of trying to get in shape and change sports at the same time.  It’s also really fun.  Even though there are times I know my friends are doing things, or I feel tired, I just love playing, so really the benefits far outweigh the negatives for me”.  I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Guest Post by:

Michael J. Barr, PT, DPT, MSR
Sports Medicine Program Manager
MUSC Sports Medicine

If you are a regular reader of our sports medicine blog, or if this is your first time visiting our site, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and I hope our team has been providing useful information that has helped keep you on the field, court, or track.  All of our sports medicine specialists have special interests and expertise in certain realms of sports; me – I am a soccer person.  For those of you who are also soccer people, know that means I did not just play, but I am also dedicated to the growth of the game and to those who have played before me and those who will play after me.  I have played and coached at multiple levels in the US and abroad; the biggest thing I have noticed, throughout my playing and coaching career and now as a sports medicine provider, that can affect ones performance on the field during the season, is their individual level of fitness the first day of pre-season.

Many people believe that pre-season training should be used to get fit and prepare for the upcoming season.  This is partially true; however, the most productive pre-seasons are when players arrive to training fit and ready to play.  That way the team can focus on team fitness and not individual limitations, and they can start preparing both technically and tactically for the upcoming season.  If a player arrives into camp over weight and out of shape, they need at least 2-4 weeks to get fit, which hinders overall team development.  This issue holds true not just for professional soccer players but high school and club as well.

The old school of thought is to just go out and run a couple of miles or run 6-8 laps around the field.  Yes, I think there is a time and a place for distance running, but training programs, especially those pre-pre-season fitness programs should be individualized and have a level of periodization to best optimize a players abilities, in order to meet the demands of their specific position.  Therefore a back-to-goal forward should have a different workout program than an outside mid-fielder that continually makes overlapping runs and serves balls from deep into the offensive third.  So when designing your pre-pre-season training program, it is important to work with your coaches and athletic trainers to design a specific program to meet your individual needs.  All out-of -season training programs should include a combination of sprint training (I like to use the pyramid technique), interval training, strength and stability training, plyometrics and agility exercises, as well as long distance running.  My suggestion is that out-of-season fitness training should be done without the ball, so then during the season you can focus more on fitness with the ball and sprint work.

Here is an example of a pre-pre-season training program to get you started, but remember you will still need to tailor this to the individual demands of your position and your general fitness.

Day 1: Interval runs, plyometrics, and stability exercises:

·         Interval running: utilizing the soccer field sprint the baseline, then jog the sidelines completing 4-6 laps*.  (this can be progressed by increasing the number of laps, or transitioning to sprinting the sidelines and jogging the end lines or if you want even more of an interval split the sidelines as well so you would sprint from the corner to midfield, jog from midfield to the corner, sprint the end line, jog corner to midfield, etc. …)

* Number of laps should be dependent on starting fitness level. Start with total of a mile and then progress the number of yards to 1.5 to 2 miles

·         Plyometric exercises: single leg hops, double leg jumps, scissor jumps

·         Core strengthening and stability exercises: push-ups, crunches, leg lifts, planks (front and side)

Day 2: Sprint training, agility training, and stability exercises:

·         Pyramid Sprint Training:

o   30yds x 2

o   60yds x 2

o   120yds x 1

o   90yds x 2

o   60yds x 2

o   30yds x 2

* 15-30 sec rest between each sprint

·         Agility ladder or cone exercises

·         Pyramid Sprint Training:

o   30yds x 1

o   60yds x 1

o   90yds x 1

o   120yds x 2

o   90yds x 3

o   60yds x 3

o   30yds x 3

* 15-30 sec rest between each sprint

·         Core strengthening and stability exercises

Day 3: Strengthening and Distance running:

·         Weight training –full body, light weight, high number of repetitions.

o   Dumbbell Chest Press on stability ball: 3x20

o   Dumbbell Overhead Press seated on stability ball: 3x20

o   Single Arm Dumbbell Row with opposite arm on stability ball: 3x20,

* Exercises 1, 2, 3 should be completed in rotation, i.e.: 1 set of each exercise and then repeat

o   Reverse Crunch to lumber rotation (medicine ball between knees): 2x20

o   Single leg wall slide with stability ball and dumbbells: 2x20

o   Mini-Squat on BOSU with balance: 2 sets of 10 x 20 second hold

o   Single Leg Romanian Dead Lift:  Balance on 1 leg, hold a 5-10 lb weight in your opposite hand: 2x20

·         Distance running – minimum of 2-3 miles, should be completed in at most 7 to 8 minute mile pace (depending on distance, age and fitness level)

Day 4:  Off – stretching only

* Days 5-7: start over on day 1 again – increase times, repetitions, and weight as needed

* Dynamic Stretching should be completed at the beginning of each workout and static stretching should be completed at the end of each workout session.

The above workout is purely a guideline to use to start designing your individual pre-pre-season training program.  Work with your coaches and athletic trainers to help design a program that meets your individual needs, and encourage your teammates to do the same.  If your entire team shows-up to the first day of pre-season fit and ready to go, you will be 2 steps ahead of your competition.

On September 5, 2014, Charleston celebrated the career of soccer defender John Wilson. Prior to the match midfielder Zach Prince presented Wilson with a Battery jersey with the number 269 on the back, representing the number of matches Wilson has played for the Battery. In his time with Charleston, Wilson wore the number 25. In the 25th minute of the game, he was treated to a standing ovation from the home crowd. This game was Wilson’s last regular season game.

John Wilson in 2012
John Wilson in 2012


The Sports Medicine Team at MUSC Health is proud to have been a part of John Wilson’s soccer career. Our athletic trainers worked with John in his rehabilitation before he joined the Charleston Battery and continued the relationship with the team. Mike Barr, MUSC Sports Medicine Program Manager, spoke of his work with John Wilson. “John’s dedication to his sport and profession is second to none; I have never worked with an athlete as dedicated to his body and his recovery as John. His hard work and dedication is what made him a true professional and allowed him to continue to play and have such a long and successful career.”

We join with the rest of Charleston in wishing John all the best in his retirement from the Battery and know that he will continue to spread the message of soccer joy to kids around the country.

Guest Post by:

Michael J. Barr, PT, DPT, MSR
Sports Medicine Coordinator
MUSC Sports Medicine

You are in an open field sprint, there is no one around you, and you feel a sharp pain and a popping or snapping sensation in the back of your leg … the dreaded hamstring strain.  The hamstring is not a single muscle, but actually a group of three muscles (semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris) in the back of your leg running from your buttock to the back of your knee.  Contraction of the hamstring creates knee flexion, so injuries usually occur with hard/fast movements into hip flexion and knee extension.

 As a sports fan you always hear common buzz words that make you think a player is out for a season, “ACL tear”, “fractured”, and “surgery”; however suffering a hamstring strain can be just as limiting.  Niko Kranjcar from Croatia has missed his opportunity to play for his nation in a second world cup due to a recent hamstring injury.  Kranjcar, has previously played in 81 international games for Croatia and has 16 goals, he is considered one of his countries most experienced players, but unfortunately due to his recent injury he will be at home watching the world cup instead of competing in Brazil. 

Diego Costa, the Brazil-born forward, who last year committed his allegiance to Spain, almost suffered the same fate as Kranjcar.  Costa is coming off of his best season of his career, scoring 36 goals for Atletico Madrid and leading his team to a UEFA Champions League final.  Costa was lucky that he was able to rehab and recover from his injury in time to make Spain’s world cup roster, however is he fully recovered?  In Spain’s opening match versus the Netherlands, Costa started the game but did not seem to be his dominant self; he only had 1 shot on goal and was substituted for at the 62nd minute during the Netherlands 5-1 rout over Spain.

The question I often get is, “how do I treat a hamstring injury?”  Unfortunately, once the injury occurs it can be a very slow and long process, usually 4-6 weeks; longer depending on the injury, look at Arian Foster who missed 8 NFL games due to a hamstring injury.  The best treatment is prevention; however if the injury does occur a combination of rest, ice, ultrasound, and kinesio tape followed by a slow progression of stretching and strengthening exercise.  Reciprocal inhibition through low level quad activation exercises can also help, this will aid in the muscular relaxation of the

hamstrings.  As the athlete progresses through his recovery, they can transition to more dynamic and sport specific activities.  Throughout their recovery and return to play, ice and flexibility exercises are essential.  Prior to even starting any type of flexibility or strengthening exercises, the athlete’s pelvis/sacroiliac joints and alignment should be assessed.  If there is a malalignment or imbalance occurring, this must be corrected prior to working on the hamstring; if not their body will be essentially fight against itself and recovery will be delayed.

 For more information on hamstring injury prevention, come back and checkout our next blog entry on Wednesday, June 25.


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